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Overall Health Plan

The community of Woodlake will be the picture of health if Family Health Care Network has anything to do with it.

Family Health Care Network (FHCN) is planning a community garden project and a community mural project at its Woodlake health care center, located at 201 E. Lakeview Ave. in Woodlake. Veronica Sanchez, a Community Health Representative for FHCN, said she will be holding monthly meetings at the Woodlake site to gather public input from community members about the two projects. Meetings on the community garden will be held at 5:50 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month and meetings regarding the community mural will be held at 5:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at the health center at the corner Lakeview and Lemona . The next meetings will be held today, Nov. 7 for the mural and Nov. 13 for the garden.

“We wanted something to bring the community together but also to address and raise awareness about health issues in Woodlake,” said Sanchez, who will provide information in both English and Spanish.

Sanchez said FHCN has identified nutrition as one of the main obstacles facing the community. She said a lack of access to fresh vegetables due to rising food costs and stagnant incomes has forced many residents living below the poverty to line to forego vegetables in favor of canned food and other foods loaded with preservatives. It’s one of the reasons the mural will be located on the back wall of First Choice Foods in Woodlake, which faces the health center.

“Some of the students in the YMCA afterschool program have already provided some sketches of what the mural may look like,” Sanchez said.

According to Tulare County Health and Human Services, 18% of county residents report having limited access to healthy foods, one third of children live below the poverty level, nearly a quarter of adults report having no physical activity during leisure time and 27% say they are in fair to poor health overall.

“The food grown at the garden will provide residents with a source of fresh vegetables they can take home or donate to the Food Pantry for distribution to others,” Sanchez said. “We also want to use the garden as a way to teach people how to grow their own food and eat healthier at home.”

The community garden will be located on the south end of FHCN’s property on Lemona Street. Sanchez said the two community outreach projects may lead to future projects in other FHCN communities if the results are successful. For more information on the projects, call Veronica Sanchez at 909-4202.

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