Our local farmers produce more fresh produce than almost any other place in the world! Yet, most of our residents never taste or even see it! In fact, many Merced County communities are designated as “food deserts” or are economically depressed and have extremely high rates of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer and obesity.
Since one of the goals of the Make Someone Happy Board of Directors is to improve the health and well-being of our residents, we decided to do something to help. Today, Produce on the Go is a reality and delivers healthy fruits, vegetables and dairy products to our communities seven days a week.
Thanks to a very generous donation from Delta Sierra Beverages in Modesto of a refrigerated 35 foot semi-truck, trailer and van, the very colorful Produce on the Go truck rolled out to greet its first customers at our grand opening on November 16, 2013. The exciting event took place at the Golden Valley Health Centers and the brightly colored truck was greeted by a very enthusiastic crowd of supporters!
Hosted by Co-Chairs, Dr. Vikram Lakireddy and Lamar Henderson, the crowd of families and children was charmed by Moozie the Kindness Cow and entertained by the incredibly energetic HSA Choir and All Dad’s Matter singers as well as delightful UC Merced dancers!
Initial visits to our communities began the next day, and today Produce on the Go is not only bringing healthy fresh fruits and vegetables to our neighborhoods, but it is bringing simple, affordable recipes and preparation tips for the unique produce available from our local farmers.
But that’s not all! Thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of our Merced County Office of Education, Produce on the Go parks primarily on local school sites, providing both children and their parents with access to a healthier lifestyle.
We are very excited that our partnership with the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) will also allow us to provide simple, fun physical activities to further improve the lives of our residents.
Produce on the Go is open to all residents of Merced County and accepts EBT, all credit and debit cards and cash as payment. Come see us! Our current schedule is posted above, but continues to grow to meet the demands of our residents!
Over 25 foster youth traveled by train to Sacramento to meet with Senator Anthony Cannella and Assemblyman Adam Gray. Several had never ridden on a train, and they enjoyed meeting and learning from our legislators about life as a policymaker. Following their day at the State Capitol, they toured the Railroad Museum in Old Town Sacramento.
We hope that many of these students will eventually choose to become leaders of our communities, the state or even our nation.
Thanks to tremendous volunteers from both the Merced Soroptimist Club and UC Merced, Make Someone Happy works with the Merced County Human Services Agency (HSA) to provide delightful monthly events for younger foster youth from 13 to 15.5 years. In addition to bringing lots of fun, food, and laughter to the children, our volunteers serve as both very caring mentors and as successful, productive role models.
Make Someone Happy has been delighted that not only do the children thoroughly enjoy being with one another, but they enjoy our volunteers, too. Friday Night Fun has made a very positive difference in the lives of both our foster youth AND our volunteers!
Unfortunately, our seniors are some of our most isolated and neglected community members. Many live alone and they do not want or know how to ask for help. Very often, they are too embarrassed or proud to ask. Our seniors are our parents and our grandparents and Make Someone Happy wants to reach out to each senior who struggles alone.
Initially, Make Someone Happy focused on fulfilling the “Christmas wish lists” of over twenty seniors throughout Merced County identified by the HSA as needing assistance. Thanks to tremendous donations from very kind community members, we were able to meet every request, and we were met with big smiles and enormous gratitude from each senior. However, we also learned about many unique and often tragic situations that they face each day.
Take Lizzie, for example. At 83 years young, her smile lit up our lives. Even though her home had burnt down, she makes the best out of everything and continues to be grateful. Although the HSA assisted in rebuilding her home, there was still much to be done. Thanks to many generous donations, Make Someone Happy provided Lizzie a lovely couch, a recliner, a dining room table and chairs, a complete bedroom set including a bed in a bag, a refrigerator, and new drapes. But more importantly, we brought Lizzie great joy and she brought us a beautiful friendship.
Here is Lizzie. We know you will love her, just like we do!