David’s Healthy Adventure
(Reprinted with permission from United Church Outreach Ministry’s Summer Newsletter, the Communicator.)
“It’s not just a handout, but a friendship thing. You’re sharing something with someone.”
This is what David had to say about the important place United Church Outreach Ministry (UCOM) in Wyoming, Mich., holds in his life. “I never knew what a jackfruit was before. Now I use it in my own kitchen. I also discovered bok choy, fennel, and several new varieties of tomatoes.”
David added, “When I moved to Wyoming, my first connection with UCOM was joining the gardening group.” Now, a little more than 10 years later, David has participated in the walking club, gardening, cooking classes, budgeting class, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, pantry, healthy living challenges, and numerous other healthy living and nutrition classes.
When we asked David about his favorite programs at UCOM, he laughed and said he likes the walking club because it’s the easiest. “Being a part of that program allowed me to learn even more about my neighborhood after the group took a staff-led walk through nearby Marquette Park, a park I never knew existed.”
Gardening at UCOM has been particularly fruitful for David. Because of UCOM’s gardening groups, David learned how to grow his own food. “Growing your own food, it’s nice to see something you created yourself,” he said. “You grew it from a seed and now you’re eating what you grew.”
David is eating more and different types of vegetables because of the CSA program, and he’s enjoying them more as he learns new ways to cook and prepare them. “I never liked salads before joining the CSA program,” he admitted, “but because I got so many lettuces and greens and didn’t want to waste them, I had to try them again in different ways. Now I really enjoy salads.”
Additionally, he says that because of these programs, his EBT funds don’t run out nearly as fast as they used to. Stretching his food budget has helped David in other aspects, too, allowing him to worry less about other financial obligations.
Maybe the most impactful aspect of the programs David participates in is the ability to connect with other members of the community. “You get to see the kind of people that are in the community and it’s a chance to interact with people, a chance to meet people,” he said.
UCOM has always been about fostering a sense of community among our neighbors. Whether it’s staff connecting with neighbors, community partners like our farmers and teachers, or neighbors connecting with each other, we know that helping people build those relationships makes for a stronger community.
When we asked David what he thought UCOM meant to the community, he couldn’t have been more emphatic in saying that the neighborhood needs UCOM.
Join Our Mailing LIst