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Program brings veggies to those in need

A local young woman is using this time of global health crisis as motivation to expand the reach of her program that brings fresh produce to those who need it most.

Randolph-Henry High School graduate Hannah Goldman, 19, of Charlotte, just finished up her first year at the University of Virginia. With plans to major in biology on a pre-med track, Goldman has always had a passion for agriculture, health and serving her community.

“I’ve always been passionate about healthcare and the true well-being of people,” she said.

Goldman’s family owns a farm in Cullen, and in 2018, she decided to utilize the farm’s freshly grown vegetables as a way of feeding those in the community who may be struggling to obtain fresh produce.

So, Goldman founded Hannah’s Healthy Veggies, a program in which she fills boxes with 10 pounds of cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, kale, onions and many other foods grown on the farm and distributes those boxes to local families or older adults without access to a variety of veggies.

Through the program, the community’s vulnerable populations have been able to pick up the boxes from Goldman’s farm. For older adults living at home or those without means of transportation, Goldman has even hand delivered the boxes to them in the past.

Since 2018, she’s been distributing and delivering boxes for Hannah’s Healthy Veggies from late May to August each year, serving approximately 10 families each season as the crops become available. She also partners with social services in order to provide applications for families to fill out to determine who needs the produce most.

However, Goldman said now, in the time of COVID-19, it’s even more important to give people access to healthier foods. She’s using the pandemic as motivation to expand her program and increase its reach.

She’s now partnering with both social services and Meals On Wheels to do so. Goldman said she is hoping to focus even more on the elderly population who are often unable to go out and shop for produce themselves. Working with local organizations will allow Goldman to expand her services and locate others in need.

She’s also aiming to increase the amount of produce available to the community by reaching out to other local farmers to see if they would be willing to partner and fill boxes of their own. As Goldman expands Hannah’s Healthy Veggies, extra farms participating in the program will mean more families can have access to a bigger variety of healthy food.

Goldman said she usually begins produce distribution toward the end of May, although she will now be taking into account the current coronavirus pandemic when performing deliveries. She will be utilizing pickup zones to minimize interactions and will continue dropping boxes on recipient’s porches to make contactless deliveries of the veggies.

Goldman described the program as a chance to do what she loves while helping the community she loves.

Individuals interested in entering Goldman’s program can pick up an application at the Department of Social Services in Charlotte Court House. Applications will be outside of the building in a bin. Applicants may also call (434) 660-2530 to arrange for an application to be sent in the mail. The return address will be available after calling.

The deadline to submit an application is June 12. Recipients will be notified by June 19.