Veggie Van visiting Mason, Lake counties Thursday.

September 23, 2020

Veggie Van visiting Mason, Lake counties Thursday.

The Veggie Van will be in Mason and Lake counties on Thursday, Sept. 24. The goal of The Veggie Van program is to ensure that fruit and vegetables are available to people who otherwise have limited access to fresh produce. The Veggie Van, a mobile farmer’s market featuring regionally grown, top-quality fruit and vegetables, is a joint project of Spectrum Health and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is also partnering with Lakeshore Food Club in Ludington on the event. The bags will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis in a drive-up fashion to promote safe social distancing. All volunteers distributing the produce will be wearing masks.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Dollar General Store, 6649 E. US 10 in Walhalla from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • St. Bernard Catholic Church in Irons, 5734 W 10 1/2 Mile Rd, from noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • St. Paul United Methodist Church, 3212 W Kinney Rd., Riverton Township, from 2 to 4 p.m.

“The staff of Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is excited to share free healthy fresh fruits and vegetables with our rural area communities in convenient outdoor locations where we can safely observe social distancing guidelines,” said Drew Dostal, president of both Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital and Gerber Memorial Hospital. “During these challenging times, Spectrum Health is doing whatever we can to encourage families to eat nutritious food. By bringing The Veggie Van to convenient outdoor sites, we hope people will feel comfortable stopping by and picking up a bag of nutritious fresh produce, with recipe cards included.”

“We are honored to partner with Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital to bring fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables to our rural neighbors. As an organization we are committed to work toward innovative and effective solutions to providing fresh, nutritious food to the food desert areas of our community. When our friends at Spectrum approached me about partnering with them to bring the Veggie Van to the outlining areas, I knew we had to say yes!” said O’Nealya Gronstal, executive director of Lakeshore Food Club.

To avoid contact, the event will be held drive-through style and participants are asked to remain in their cars. Staff members will put the bags of produce in vehicles and will wear masks and gloves to reduce transmission risks. Social distancing and safety protocols will be in place for safety. People who plan to pick up their free bag of produce are asked to please wear a mask and practice healthy hand hygiene.

“At Spectrum Health, improving the health of the communities we serve is central to our mission of improving health, inspiring hope and saving lives,” said Dostal. “Thanks to initiatives like The Veggie Van and support from organizations like the Lakeshore Food Club, Spectrum Health can help connect families with fresh produce and promote good nutrition in the community. From our culinary medicine classes to personalized fitness and quit nicotine programs tailored to individual needs, Spectrum Health is committed to caring for residents in our communities.”

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