Speaker 1 00:00:06 The Stories This Moment podcast and the SDM Block are brought to you by S STM Daily News and TNC Network. Daily News offers news and articles that inspires, helps heals and educates. S TM Daily News is the news you can use this moment. Now, here's your host, rod Washington.
Speaker 2 00:00:27 Hello and welcome to another episode of the S TM podcast. I'm your host, rod Washington. All right, let's talk. The reason I came up with s t m Daily News and before that T N C network. And before that, cactus News is I'm a journalist blogger at heart. I like to talk to people and showcase people who are doing positive things in the community or doing creative things. Today we're gonna talk to Diana Gregory of Diana Gregory Outreach with a vision of transforming communities by promoting healthy lifestyles. Diana Gregory talks to us about Diana Gregory's Outreach Services and Gregory's Fresh Market.
Speaker 3 00:01:15 I'm Diana Gregory, and I am the founder and c e o of Gregory's Fresh Market. Diana Gregory Outreach Services. 14 years ago, we saw a need to provide low income seniors and veterans living in food desert areas with access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Speaker 4 00:01:39 What is a food desert? A food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food. It is one of the leading contributing factors to food insecurity.
Speaker 3 00:01:51 Uh, what we promote is food is medicine, and medicine is food, and we promote that fruits and vegetables, good nutrition is fundamental to good healthcare.
Speaker 4 00:02:02 Diana talks about a childhood incident that started her on this journey to help those in need.
Speaker 3 00:02:07 At eight years old, I was outside playing with my friends. I noticed, and this was a hot Saturday in June, and we were all outside playing, and one of our neighbors, miss Fanny, had just returned from grocery shopping. I didn't know it then, but we lived in a food desert. There were no grocery stores for several miles away. So Miss Fanny is returning from her trip to the grocery store, and she is struggling trying to carry her bags, and all the children just kept playing. And I looked up and I said, miss Fanny, how can I help you? And she asked if I would help take her bags of eight flights of stairs. And at that time, as a young girl, I realized how seniors were sometimes treated, neglected, overlooked. And I made up in my, my mind at that time that when I grew up, I wanted to do something on a big scale to really help seniors. Because as I continued to observe this situation more and more, I saw the need for a service that could be provided.
Speaker 4 00:03:13 Inspired Diana formed Diana Gregory's Outreach Services, providing the service to seniors and veterans in key zip codes where they're challenged with food insecurity. Diana talks about Gregory's Fresh Market.
Speaker 3 00:03:25 Gregory's Fresh Market is, you know, it, it, it is a division of Diana Gregory Outreach Services. It is our former market brand. Uh, it's our delivery service brand. We started off in the beginning when we would go in and we would set up the farmer's market for seniors to come down from their apartments and have access to over 20 different fruits and vegetables. When everything changed during the pandemic, during the pandemic, we pivoted to a delivery program. And actually, it had really helped us streamline our business because we were able to serve more people as a result of the pandemic. And, uh, being able to provide a delivery service, getting a refrigerated trailer, we were able to double the amount of people than we were serving, and we had no waste. And that was a beautiful thing. Uh, what we do now is we deliver to independent living locations.
Speaker 3 00:04:24 We deliver to a minimum of 50 seniors at one time so that we deliver the bags right to where they live. They come down to the community room and they pick up a bag of fresh fruits and vegetables. What's so wonderful about this service is that seniors have an opportunity to socialize with their neighbors. You know, so many of them are in isolation. They don't come out. We've had seniors that will say, when we are so grateful for the service that you provide, when you're not here. I read a book, I go to sleep, I watch television, I go to sleep, but when you come, it forces me to get out of my apartment, get fruits and vegetables, and have the opportunity to socialize with my neighbors. You know, researchers say that isolation is the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It's lethal. We like to say that in addition to providing fresh fruits and vegetables, we provide socialization versus isolation. And the nice thing is we get to know the seniors. We genuinely care. We provide love and hugs and, uh, we just provide a a really good experience.
Speaker 4 00:05:44 Diana tells us about the many events that are hosted by Diana Gregory's Outreach Services.
Speaker 3 00:05:49 Uh, some of the, the programs that we host, we have one for veterans, and that one is called Veggies for Veterans. We've been doing that one now for five years, and we do that in conjunction with, uh, Phoenix Healthcare at the VA hospital. The last event that we had was at the end of the year, and we serviced 700 veterans with bags of fresh fruits and vegetables. They can either pick up a bag where we have the distribution set up in the hallway, or either they can pick up the bag through the drive-through, we just load up their vehicles. We have like the delivery program that's now delivery versus the farmer's market. And so that program, we served over 20,000 seniors and veterans with bags of fresh fruits and vegetables. We have nutrition classes when we go in and we set up in the community room, and we provide the seniors with nutrition education classes.
Speaker 3 00:06:54 And then also we have a program that we've done for 10 years. It's the Senior Awards luncheon. And this is a program where we celebrate the accomplishments of seniors. Last year at the senior awards, uh, we had two honorees and one was 101, one was 102, one was 92, and the other one was 87. So as you can see, we are really celebrating and honoring, uh, those seniors. I have to mention that none of this is possible without the support from our sponsors. We collaborate with over 20 different organizations and they help make all of the programs that we do possible. Uh, there are so many, but I, I'll just mention just a few. B H H S Legacy Foundation is one of our sponsors, collaborators, Arizona Complete Health, aps, fries. There's just so many. And so we're just grateful for all those that, uh, support us and allow us to do the very important work that we do.
Speaker 4 00:08:07 Diana gives insight on how her outreach, service, and fresh market impacts the lives of the people she serves.
Speaker 3 00:08:14 I like to say that we save lives on several occasions. We've had our seniors tell us, and you were asking how it impacts lives. They will say, this bag of produce is the difference between having a meal and starving. It is that big of a deal. You might say that it's, it's always, it's like a, an additional incentive. Uh, the service coordinators, when they talk about the benefits of living at that location, they always mention, and our seniors receive a monthly bag of fresh fruits and vegetables. It's, it's something that they, they look forward to. I remember on one occasion, uh, we weren't able to deliver just due to some transportation issues, and they said, we will do it. We'll get someone to come and pick it up. And, and I believe you're gonna see more and more articles written that talk about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. And so, I just wanna know, say that we've been at the frontline. We've been there for, we've been doing this work for 14 years.
Speaker 4 00:09:25 Diana tells us her final thoughts, aspirations, and hope for the future.
Speaker 3 00:09:33 My final thoughts are to continue to expand. You know, I like to paint a picture, a visual of the amount of people that we serve. So I tell people just to, to visualize being at a, a Sun's game in the stadium, that stadium when, for a sold out game, that's about 17,000 people.
Speaker 3 00:09:55 So if we're serving over 20,000, you can have an idea as to how many people we're serving. So our, our, our dream for the future is to just continue to expand and serve more. And this year we'd like to be able to serve 30,000. Um, someday it would be nice to have our own, take the exercise classes and take the nutrition classes and bring their grandkids for classes. We're growing and with growth, we, we grow out of the space that we currently have. We need space for warehousing. Uh, we need space to have our educational classes. Uh, so, uh, so there's, there's, there's a lot more that, uh, that can be done. And, and we just want to continue to provide seniors with the wonderful service that we currently provide. And, and once again, that cannot be done without support from our many sponsors.
Speaker 2 00:11:02 I like to thank Diana Gregory for taking the time to talk with us. If you'd like to find out more about Diana Gregory's Outreach and Gregory's Fresh Market, we do have links in the description option. Thanks for being with us and we'll see you next time on the SDM Daily News podcast. Bye-bye. Now.
Speaker 1 00:11:31 You've been listening to the Stories This Moment podcast with your host, rod Washington. The SDM podcast and the s t m Vlog are both brought to you by S t m Daily News, N T N C Network. Daily News offers news and articles that inspires, helps heals and educates. S t M Daily News is the news. You can use this moment.