Ruben Neal: Presentations of Impact 2020

Ruben Neal: Presentations of Impact 2020

As a member of Public Allies I was placed at Gregory’s Fresh Market. My mission is to help alleviate health-related challenges by providing an on-site mobile farmers market, nutritional cooking classes, fitness, and other support to address food insecurity, fall prevention, and socialization in order to minimize chronic health and social disparities experienced by low-income seniors and military veterans.

One thing that I learned working at my placement is that, not all neighborhoods have major supermarkets or access to fresh vegetables and fruits at a reasonable price. This fact has become a major challenge for many seniors, whose quality of life and health is greatly depended on eating balanced meals. Specifically, for all of us, eating well and healthy contributes to a better immune system, higher energy and emotionally, a more positive outlook on life.

For many seniors, their location makes it difficult for them to enjoy these benefits. Our regular visits to senior communities eliminate the challenges of food insecurity, location, and mobility that seniors may face by bringing our “Fresh Market” to the facilities where they live or the senior’s centers in their neighborhoods.

It’s Monday and ten children, ages 5-12, are in the Community Room at Grandfamilies Place. They can’t wait until 4:30 pm to attend the healthy cooking class with their grandparents. Not only will they learn about eating healthy, they will also learn life skills. Prior to the starting of class, they all wash their hands, put on their aprons, chef hats and gloves.

One by one, they stand in front of the class to introduce themselves and their grandparents. They are always asked a question. Today, they are asked, “What is your favorite fruit and why?” Afterwards, their grandparents engage briefly in a discussion about what foods to eat to avoid inflammation and the symptoms of dehydration.

On this day, it’s 100 degrees. A perfect day for showing everyone how to make smoothies. But first, the children will make almond milk. The almonds have soaked for six hours. After the children make the almond milk, they blend it with various fruits and dates to make a refreshing drink. And they learn how to plate the smoothies and serve their grandparents. Throughout the entire experience I have learn so much and grown so much into my role. I would like to thank Public Allies and Diana Gregory for the lifechanging experiences that has made me a better person not only in my community but to myself as well.