VEAP is a basic needs organization whose programs include access to healthy foods, transportation and social services.
Healthy food options are plentiful in this community. Even so, barriers to healthy food access exist for low-income families. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor health. Nutrition impacts health. Poverty in its essence decreases access to healthy foods and increases the chances of poor health.
Cost: Eighty-one percent of VEAP client households have annual incomes of $19,200 or less, and 57% of these households include children. It’s not surprising then that VEAP clients reveal the single greatest barrier to having fresh and healthy foods available for their families is cost. Cheap calorie options are abundant but are not conducive to healthy, strong minds and bodies elevating the importance of having nutritious, fresh foods available for everyone.
Transportation: In addition the high cost of healthy foods, lack of transportation presents another barrier to access. According to Hennepin County, about one in five adults age 65 and older do not drive. VEAP’s Transportation Program for low-income seniors focuses on their accessibility to critical needs appointments such as dialysis, chemotherapy, physical therapy as well as visiting loved ones in care facilities. For clients that are able to get to the VEAP food pantry via public transportation or other means, VEAP volunteers provide a ride home. In 2015, over 4,100 rides home were provided to food pantry clients and over 8,000 rides to seniors helping eliminate the transportation barrier.
Time: VEAP clients represent the working poor in our community. Food shelves in other parts of the metro area are open just a few hours, 2-3 days a week limiting opportunities for individuals in those communities. VEAP’s food pantry provides access 45 hours a week. This helps remove the time barrier for the many clients that are juggling multiple jobs and young children.
With the help of over 2,500 volunteers, VEAP is able to provide access to vital resources. Volunteers sort and pack produce, stock shelves, provide rides home from the pantry and assist clients in other ways. Donated dollars and dedicated volunteers mean a healthier life for clients and stronger community for all of us. Be part of the solution—Join TEAM VEAP!