OCSA gratefully learned about Fox Valley Food for Health from several Fox Valley physicians and our collaborating partner Fox Trot Organic Farm. We hope the partnership at the OCSA 5K Dog Walk is only the beginning of beautiful friendship!
OCSA: Can you tell us about the origins of the Fox Valley Food for Health organization?
Susan Leigh: Fox Valley Food for Health started in the summer of 2012, when the idea first developed regarding the building of a charity that would combine healthy nutrition, teen education and helping those in our community going through serious illness like cancer. I had previously met the Founder of the Ceres Project in Sebastopol, California and that program framework was adopted. The first meals were delivered in November/December 2012 and our launch was complete and successful!
OCSA: Can you tell us about the early collaboration with co-founder Mary Fremgen?
SL: Mary and I worked together at Living Well in 2011/12 teaching and serving nutritious meals, and saw the need for something that could be expanded. With Mary’s background in dietetics and Susan’s in culinary arts the two teamed up to create a local program serving the needs of the community.
OCSA: What are the details of the program? Can you tell us about your partnership with Fox Trot Organic Farm?
SL: The program focuses on teens and clients going through serious illness like cancer. Teen volunteers are taught healthy cooking skills and leadership principles as they prepare approximately 400 meals per week at the Kane County Fairgrounds kitchen we currently utilize. Adult Kitchen Mentors (most with professional culinary training) teach on Mondays/Tuesdays, as the meals are prepared. The meals are then delivered to clients who are going through cancer treatments. We provide meals for the whole family, as we believe that the benefits are multiplied when a family eats together and the caregivers are relieved from a sometimes-difficult burden. Adult volunteers support the process every step along the way. This fall Fox Valley Food for Health will work with Fox Trot Organic farm to supply some of our fresh produce in the Food for Health kitchen. Over the last couple of years Ellen and Jeff have been part of our teen education program. Our mission is to teach our teens about the preparation of healthy food, healthy environmental sciences and supporting local agriculture.
OCSA: How do you determine eligibility for your program and what is the cost to the participant?
SL: The basic program provides meals at no cost for the first eight to twelve weeks. Eligibility is based on need, the willingness to take on a new healthy eating style and living within our delivery boundaries (30 minutes from our kitchen).
OCSA: Please tell us about Hudson, the FVFFH mascot and will he join you and your team at the OCSA 5K Dog walk on September 10, 2017?
SL: Hudson is a 16 week-old Old English Sheepdog, full of life, joy and energy. He arrived on the 30th of June from a wonderful breeder in Elsberry, Missouri, and brings joy and smiles to whomever he meets! Hudson is looking forward to joining all the dogs on September 10th at the OCSA Dog Walk! Although he is too young to do the full 5k he will be at the starting line cheering on all the other dogs!
For more information Fox Valley Food for Health, please visit: www.foxvalleyfoodforhealth.org
To sign-up for OCSA’s 5K Dog Walk & Fun Run, visit: http://www.ovariancancersymptomawareness.org/st-charles-5k-dog-walk-fun-run/