Employees of WCA Hospital and their families are enjoying locally grown fruits and vegetables without the hassle of finding a produce stand, thanks to a new wellness initiative.
Christina Reynolds, director of hospitality services, and Toni DeAngelo, RN, wellness director, launched the WCA Farmers Market Express on Wednesday morning. Their cart, loaded with locally grown fruits and vegetables, made its way through several WCA Hospital departments.
"Toni and I were working each year out in the main lobby, for the employees. But, everybody wasn't able to get to it, so we decided that we would take (the cart) to each unit this year. I found on the Internet that a lot of places are actually starting to do this for their employees," Reynolds said.
Toni DeAngelo points out to another WCA Hospital employee the various locally grown products that are available.
P-J photo by Liz Skoczylas
Each week, the women plan to load up their cart with items such as squash, potatoes, peppers, strawberries and blueberries, as well as fresh salads, wraps and yogurts, and travel to different departments throughout the hospital. They will also travel to the Jones Hill locations, Human Resources and other sites outside of the hospital's main campus.
Reynolds said the hospital is not making any money from the WCA Farmers Market Express, adding that all of the profits will go directly back into buying more produce to keep the cart stocked for each Wednesday throughout the summer. The fruits and vegetables on the cart, excluding strawberries and cantaloupes, were purchased from Abers Acres.
"We figured that our employees don't have enough time to do anything anymore. They work and go home. You drive by the store and think that you should've stopped," DeAngelo said.
Aside from healthy options, Reynolds and DeAngelo offered educational literature about healthy lifestyles and diets free for employees.
"Everyone loves it. They feel like they are being catered to. And, our employees need to be catered to," DeAngelo said.
Tammy Hartzell, customer service representative, was one of the many people who purchased from the WCA Farmers Market Express.
"I think going to everybody is brilliant. I was happy to purchase," Hartzell said.
The WCA Farmers Market Express will continue each Wednesday through September.