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Extension > Health and Nutrition News > Featured Partner: VEAP

Featured Partner: VEAP

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VEAP: Meeting Basic Needs. Building Stronger Communities.
"I know firsthand that VEAP is a place that offers help and hope," says Rick Rector of Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People (VEAP). Rick is a champion at inspiring his co-workers to give back through VEAP, an organization that provides a range of services to help low-income people meet immediate needs and reach long-term stability.

Rick says his approach is simple: "Let's do a food drive and have some fun at the same time."

VEAP's hundreds of volunteers work in the food pantry and warehouse, perform administrative duties, greet clients, transport the elderly to medical appointments, plan special events -- the list goes on. With incentives like wearing jeans to work and catered lunches, Rick's team of co-workers collected more than 18,000 items in their first back to school drive and 800 pounds of food in a period of just a couple months. Rick's boss appreciates the positive impact his efforts have had on the company, improving overall morale among employees.

But Rick's VEAP story began long before the food drives. When the perfect storm of divorce and unemployment hit Rick a number of years ago, he struggled to meet the needs of his family. Then he saw a poster for VEAP.


"It's really difficult to get yourself to walk through those doors. But the food pantry offers choices in a friendly and uplifting environment," recalls Rick. VEAP helped Rick through the most difficult time of his life. Now that he is advancing in his new career, Rick sees his leadership role clearly. "I can inspire others to work hard and to give back. I am a humbler and better person for what I have gone through."

VEAP recently launched a $7.2 million capacity campaign to expand program capacity, deepen and strengthen the impact of VEAP's programs and services, and renovate a building at 9600 Aldrich in Bloomington. Part of VEAP's program expansion includes the introduction of NEAT (Nutrition Education and Teaching), a program dedicated to nutrition education by providing samples of nutritious foods, recipes, menu planning, and food prep in an on-site teaching kitchen. VEAP and Extension are partnering to deliver this program.

Contact: Patty Schulz, Advancement Director (pattys@veapcolunteers.org or 952-955-8310)

For more information about VEAP, visit their website: http://www.veapvolunteers.org/

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