More families are eating healthier during the holidays because of a new YMCA partnership with Tampa General Hospital (TGH). Thanks to a generous $10,000 TGH grant, the Tampa YMCA expanded its Veggie Van – A Mobile Market Place to include a new stop at the TGH Specialty Center at Healthpark. The new stop launched last month and had a bigger turnout than expected.

Veggie Van will also work with families on improving food preparation and cooking habits to minimize the risk of obesity, chronic disease and high blood pressure. “It’s all about impact. We need to find out ways to measure the impact and it would be beneficial now that we’re at a venue that’s about healthcare,” says Program Director Elizabeth Roman.

For $1, all community members are welcome to purchase up to two bags of fresh produce at the TGH stop at 5802 N. 30th Street every other Wednesday from 1-2 pm. Christelly Clark waited in line with her triplets and her two other children, ages 5 and 3. She had an appointment that day at the center. “I found out about it through the nurses,” she says.

“Tampa General Hospital is proud to support this YMCA program that brings healthy fruits and vegetables right to our Healthpark community. A $1 bag of veggies is extremely affordable and helps our community members improve their well-being and learn healthy eating habits,” said Kim Christine, Tampa General Hospital administrator, community and corporate wellness.

“There’s a perception that we don’t want to eat healthy and when people are presented with the opportunity they do choose the healthier options,” says Elizabeth.

In addition to the new TGH stop, the Y’s Veggie Van distributes produce in the communities of Tampa Heights, Sulphur Springs, Wimauma, Plant City, Dover and Lacoochee. Each of these locations has a demonstrated need for nutritional wellness.

The Veggie Van is generously supported by: Publix Charities, Bank of America, Joy McCann Foundation, Tampa General Hospital, The Saunders Foundation and Interfaith Social Action Council of Sun City Center. 


ictured above: The Veggie Van location had a great turnout at the new TGH location on Wednesday, November 20.