Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging, but Covia is making it easier for over 1,500 seniors each week across the Bay Area. Through the Market Day program, Covia Community Services provides 19 produce markets from Sonoma County to Monterey that provide seniors with fresh fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices. The markets, run primarily by senior volunteers, also offer a convivial gathering, often incorporating information, tastings and music.
Nearly 25,000 pounds of produce pass through the markets each year, 20% of it donated by local businesses and growers. More than just providing nutritious food at a reasonable price, these markets foster community by giving seniors a great reason to get together with friends. Volunteers and shoppers share conversation, enjoy coffee and pastries, and listen to music at locations ranging from senior housing communities (including Covia Affordable Communities) to senior centers and churches.
A new Market Day is opening on Thursday, May 23 at the Yu-Ai-Kai Japanese-American Community Senior Service Center, located in San Jose’s historic Japantown. The market will be open from 10:30 – 11:30 am, and will be hosted on the 4th Friday of each month.
Market Day is one of Covia’s fastest growing Community Services programs. Two new markets opened in 2018, one at Stevenson House in Palo Alto and one at the Walnut Creek Senior Center. Two more new sites are planned in 2019: Emerson Village in Pomona (the first Market Day site in Southern California), and Shires Memorial, which became a Covia Affordable Community in 2018. New sites are also being explored in Marin, Sonoma and Los Angeles counties.
In Marin, the Community Services team is piloting a program at Market Day in Novato, helping low-income seniors sign up for and use Cal Fresh, a benefit that helps stretch grocery dollars. Covia Community Services is exploring plans to expand this service to other locations.
Each Market Day is unique, operated by local volunteers and offering a variety of services or activities. Some offer recipes while highlighting the health benefits of certain vegetables. Others provide music from local musicians, seasonal produce tastings or an informal lunch.
Stoneman Village, an affordable senior housing community in Pittsburg, wanted to provide fresh produce to all its residents, including those who are homebound. All it took was a plan and Gail Kellough, an outstanding volunteer. Volunteers shop for and deliver bags of produce from Market Day to their neighbors who are unable to get out and shop on their own.
Says Colleen Chavez, Covia Market Day Program Director:“I never tire of seeing the positive effect of each Market Day: the joy of seniors coming together, helping one another, having access to such great produce, and being part of the community.”
This story was originally printed in Community Matters.
The Covia Foundation recently announced the recipients of the 2018 Darby Betts grant funds.
Established in 2005 as a partnership between Covia and the Episcopal Diocese of California, the Darby Betts fund supports services and programs that benefit seniors in the Episcopal Dioceses of California, Northern California, and El Camino Real.
In 2018, the fund was able to disburse $71,000 among 15 organizations, with grant amounts ranging from $2,500 to $10,000.
Grant recipients and programs for 2018 are:
- Church of the Epiphany, Vacaville: Community Meals program
- Church of the Good Shepherd, Salinas: Senior Lunch program
- Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy Ministry, Milpitas: Inmate Glasses Project
- Covia Community Services: Market Day Senior Nutrition program
- Episcopal Community Services, San Francisco: Canon Kip Senior Center
- Gubbio Project, San Francisco: Day Respite and Breakfast Program
- Holy Child and St. Martin, Daly City: Senior Connections
- Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, Oakland: Caregiving Support Group
- The Living Room, Santa Rosa: Link Lane House
- Meals on Wheels Diablo Region, Walnut Creek: Fall Prevention Program
- Monument Crisis Center, Concord: Senior Nutrition and Wellness program
- Redwood Empire Food Bank, Santa Rosa: Senior Food Security and Hunger Relief
- River City Food Bank, Sacramento: Most Important Meal Program
- Senior Access, San Rafael: Financial Aid for Memory Care Day Program
- Trinity Center, Walnut Creek: Day Shelter
Father Darby Betts was the visionary behind the Covia communities and services that serve seniors, wherever they call home. To qualify for the Darby Betts grant, organizations must operate on a nonprofit basis and demonstrate a clear and dedicated focus on services and programs that benefit older adults living throughout the region covered by the three Episcopal Dioceses in Northern California – from its northern border down to San Luis Obispo. The grants are determined by a committee of representatives from the Episcopal Impact Fund and Covia.