The Veggie Wheels program entered its fifth 12 months with various adjustments — new management, a brand new endowment fund, a brand new collaboration — however one essential factor remained the identical: a mission of supporting a more healthy future for the deprived in Cattaraugus County.
In 2019, Veggie Wheels supplied roughly 600 group members and youngsters with recent greens, fruit and dietary training within the communities of Olean, Delevan and Salamanca.
In 2019, Athena Godet-Calogeras, this system’s founder and unique director, transferred management to Heidi E. Reese, a well being training assistant on the Cattaraugus County Well being Division.
Previous to stepping down, Godet-Calogeras led the hassle to determine the Veggie Wheels Fund on the Cattaraugus Area Neighborhood Basis, with the intention of offering challenge supporters an avenue to make tax-deductible donations to a fund that may develop over time to supply continued assist to this system’s efforts.
In 2019, the Veggie Wheels Fund made doable a $2,000 grant to pay distributors for fruits and produce that have been delivered to program individuals.
5 years in the past, Veggie Wheels started as a pilot program serving low-income housing services with recent produce in an effort to fight the excessive charges of diet-related issues like weight problems, coronary heart illness and diabetes among the many county’s extra deprived inhabitants.
Within the years since, this system has begun serving various new areas, together with Delevan this 12 months, via a collaboration with Ladies, Infants and Youngsters of Cattaraugus County. In its first 12 months, serving this location, program volunteers supplied recent produce to 77 people, a majority of whom have been kids.
Moreover, Veggie Wheels labored with nutritionists from Eat Sensible Western New York to supply program individuals with recipes, training and cooking demonstrations. Youngsters additionally acquired instruments like measurement plates, water bottles and vegetable platters to advertise wholesome life-style selections.
Plenty of individuals reported that this system inspired them to start a more healthy eating regimen and to train commonly, which led to weight reduction. One lady reported shedding twenty kilos because the starting of her involvement with Veggie Wheels, in line with Heidi E. Reese.
“The success of Veggie Wheels season 2019 is because of the time, effort, and dedication of the volunteers of this system,” Reese says. “Volunteers take the time to select up, ship, arrange, and distribute greens to every group member that attends.
“I can by no means thank Veggie Wheels volunteers sufficient for all of their exhausting work,” she continues. “Subsequent 12 months we hope to increase to new areas and recruit extra volunteers to assist with Veggie Wheels.”