Surrounded by two low-income housing complexes in Wilmington, an L.A.-area neighborhood, the Providence Wellness and Activity Center is a gathering spot in an under-served community. Here, fresh and affordable produce is rare, as are accessible wellness and health education programs.
“The Wellness Center is a safe place, a place of enrichment and a place of education,” said Justin Joe, community health investment director.
The center provided a lifeline during the pandemic by delivering food from its farmers market to residents. Now, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers and Hunger Action Los Angeles sponsor a program that allows residents to use CalFresh, California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and a Wilmington center discount to buy groceries at the market. In 2022, 365 households received $14,061 of free produce and $27,753 in CalFresh benefits.
Also during the pandemic, this Providence ministry worked with local farmers who were limited in how they could sell their crops when closures happened. Providence bought the farmers’ produce and distributed it to residents who were unable to get fresh groceries.