As a Hunger & Health VISTA, Erika Gadomski has had the opportunity to facilitate the partnership of two great organizations: Second Harvest and Solidarity Urban Farms. As part of a larger project fostered by Second Harvest called Food Forward Lorain, Erika has worked with both sites to increase fresh food access to more people. She has also facilitated record keeping structures within Solidarity Urban Farms and paved the way for the use of food incentive programs at the market, such as EBT cards, Produce Perks, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market coupons. Establishing these incentive programs has been especially rewarding as they have resulted in more customers coming to the farm stand.
Another highlight of Erika’s service has been working with the Lorain County WIC Department to organize a special evening event at the farm. At this event, the WIC Department distributed WIC coupons to eligible families to be spent at the farm. For Erika, the evening felt especially gratifying as she watched the community coming together to share a meal and enjoy the green urban space.
Erika is also proud to have worked closely with both organizations to devise a system of food procurement and distribution of produce boxes at weekly clinics. For this program, produce boxes are delivered to the participating clinic and then offered to patients receiving care that day.
Through service, Erika feels that her eyes have been opened to the complexity of the many interrelated factors contributing to poverty. She recommends national service to those who are open in heart and mind to receive challenging information and grow as a result. She is grateful for what she has learned and excited to continue making an impact in the community beyond her service here at Second Harvest. Thanks for your ongoing commitment to service and learning, Erika!
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