Families in Fort Valley can enjoy meals cooked with fresh fruits and vegetables because of a collaboration between Fort Valley State University’s (FVSU) Early Head Start program and Georgia’s Peach State Health Plan.
On May 31, from 1-4 p.m., the Peach State Health Plan’s Mobile Market, an 18-foot rolling grocery stand packed with fruits, vegetables and other health-related items, stopped at two Fort Valley State University Early Head Start child care partner (EHS-CCP) locations.
More than 84 families with children attending First Step Learning Center and A Brighter Choice Learning Center received free bags containing onions, carrots, cabbage, apples, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables.
Wanike Shakespeare, health coordinator for FVSU’s Early Head Start Program, said this is the first year the mobile food market visited Fort Valley. She said it is important for services such as Peach State Health Plan to provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables because of a lack of grocery stores in Fort Valley.
“We have only one grocery store, and a lot of people don’t have vehicles, so to get out to that one grocery store is a struggle,” said DeVona Robinson, a 41-year-old mother of two. “To have someone not only provide fresh vegetables and fruits but to bring it to us in some cases is a lifesaver,” Robinson said.
Craig Washington, community relations coordinator for the Peach State Health Plan, said the mobile market visits more than 100 communities during the year and distributes more than a ton of fresh produce annually. It also serves more than 30,000 people throughout Georgia.
Futhermore, Washington said the mobile market visit is part of a new initiative aiming to build relationships with non-profit organizations, food pantries and food banks. “Our motto is to eat well, be well and live well,” Washington said.
FVSU operates Head Start programs in Crisp, Dooly, Macon, and Taylor Counties and Early Head Start programs in Crawford, Macon, Peach, Pulaski, Taylor, and Telfair Counties.
To learn more about Fort Valley State University Early Head Start Program and its services, call Wanike Shakespeare at (478) 825-6171 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.