HEAL Markets Make Fresh Produce Affordable for Local Families

Fort Wayne resident Stacey Dickerson has been visiting the HEAL Markets the last several years and she’s always pleased with what she finds.

“I love the fresh fruits and veggies here,” she commented on a recent visit to the McCormick Place HEAL Market. “The assistance I get helps stretch my budget because healthy food is not always cheap to buy.”

Dickerson has five mouths to feed, and the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) produce vouchers, as well as the matching dollars funded by the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and Parkview Health, helps her get nutritious food on the table.

HEAL stands for Healthy Eating Active Living and is a partnership between the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, Parkview Health, and HealthVisions Midwest of Fort Wayne. The three HEAL farmers markets all accept WIC and Senior vouchers, as well as SNAP, formerly food stamps. All of these purchases are matched $1 for $1, which means anyone using SNAP or WIC/Senior vouchers gets double the amount of fresh fruit and veggies for their family. Cash, credit, and debit are also accepted.

Like Dickerson, John Selmon appreciates the affordability of the fresh produce at the HEAL Markets and he’s also grateful that they support his family’s efforts to live a healthy life.
“Eating healthy is big in our house,” says Selmon. “Diabetes runs in our family so we always try to eat healthy.”

Dickerson’s daughter Janiya doesn’t focus as much on the nutritional value of the produce as she does on the taste. “The fruits and veggies are deeelicious,” she states with enthusiasm as she looks over a yellow squash at the McCormick Place HEAL Market.

Meg Distler, executive director of the St. Joe Foundation, which helps support the HEAL Markets, couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

“It’s encouraging to visit the markets and see people’s enthusiasm for the fresh produce,” says Distler. “The hundreds of people who visit the markets weekly really demonstrate the need and desire for affordable, nutritious fruit and vegetables.”

The McCormick Place and Parkview Greenhouse HEAL Markets are open through the first week of September, and the South Side HEAL Market is open through October 23. Find out more about the locations and hours of operation here.

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