CINCINNATI — John Visnauskas believes that fresh produce doesn’t only heal bodies, but it can also help heal communities as long as they have access to it.
“Some of our clients come from neighborhoods not very far away, just north of us in Cleveland, where it's a distance to get produce, and you know, vegetables means (and) the canned section at the beverage store on the corner,” Visnauskas said.
He is the founder of Baba’s Yard, a Greater Cleveland Food Bank partner agency that focuses on providing fruits and vegetables to clients during distributions like this one.
“Nutrition to me is a really important part of a food bank,” Visnauskas said.
He has spent the last 20 years of his life feeding people, bringing fresh food distributions to different communities in the Greater Cleveland area.
“At one point, I was running six of these. I had two in East Cleveland, two in Euclid Beach senior buildings, one on Richmond Road and one out by Hillcrest Hospital, as well as I had another one here at what was then Gloria Dei Church,” he said.
Once he starts a distribution at one site, he empowers others to take that site’s distribution over. Then he moves on to meet the need in a different community. So far, he’s started and handed off 20 distribution sites.
“At least 90% of those programs that I began continue now. I’m offering a turn-key operation, you know, with volunteers,” he said.
Visnauskas said he himself has found health and happiness in keeping fruits and vegetables at the forefront of his diet. He wants to share those feelings with as many people as possible.