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California winery selects Community Care as West Virginia’s beneficiary of charitable award for FARMacy program

BUCKHANNON – A central California coastal winery has caught wind of the good work Community Care of West Virginia is doing in Buckhannon and beyond, and thought the ever-expanding federally qualified health center could benefit from some additional support.

So, on Wednesday, CCWV became the only entity in the Mountain State to receive a $5,000 charitable award from the California winery, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. During a ceremonial check presentation at CCWV’s location on West Main Street in Buckhannon, CCWV CEO Trish Collett and her staff gathered for a photo opportunity.        

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager Davis Hyde delivered the ceremonial check on behalf of the company as part of its “50 Years, 50 States & 50 Ways of Giving” campaign.

CCWV will use the award to support its partnership with FARMacy WV, a program that provides access to affordable produce for patients with chronic diseases. According to its website, FARMacy WV currently operates at 36 locations in 28 counties, including Barbour, Pocahontas and Upshur.

Hyde said J. Lohr Vineyards has been in operation for 50 years, and to celebrate, the winery selected an entity or charity to support with a $5,000 donation in each state for a total of $250,000 nationwide.

“We are a Central Coast California Winery, and we are celebrating 50 years as a family-owned winery, and so one of the campaigns that we have this year – and one of the ways that we wanted to celebrate that 50 years – is the campaign is ’50 Years, 50 States, 50 Ways of Giving,’” Hyde said. “So, through a variety of networking, we came across Community Care and decided to reach out to them and decided it would be a good fit for us.”

Dr. Kimberly Becher, Chief Medical Officer of Community Care of WV, elaborated on the important work that FARMacy WV and CCVW are able to accomplish through collaboration.

“The way I see FARMacy is a full-spectrum, closed-circle food insecurity delivery with education,” Becher said. “So, you’re actually getting people local produce, local food to make healthy meals, and you’re bringing in nutrition to teach them how to make healthy meals with some of these ingredients they may not have had before or just healthier ways of preparing the same ingredients they’ve used for generations.”

Becher said another key aspect of the program is its emphasis on knowing where food comes from.

“A part of that is making sure that it’s really transparent as to where your food is coming from and why it’s so important to eat fresh fruits and vegetables,” she added. “You are treating a disease with local produce, which I think is the best.”

Collett, CCWV’s CEO and PA-C, said the partnership with FARMacy WV also benefits local farmers as well as patients.

“The donation that the winery is giving us and through other outlets in the past, it’s given us the ability to support our local farmers and their production of locally grown vegetables, and then putting it out to our patient population,” Collett said. “That absolutely helps with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc. We’re trying to help people with chronic diseases eat healthier.”

“There’s been a big push for farm-to-table and it is about trying to eat less processed foods and more healthily grown foods fixed and prepared the right way,” she added.

Becher said CCWV’s partnership with FARMacy WV started in 2019, but the agency itself was established in 2016. This year, programs are taking place in Pocahontas and Clay counties, Becher said.

“It happens all over the state, but we have had program at our Rock Cave office and our Clay and Big Otter offices, so this year, we’re excited we’re going to have two programs in Pocahontas County — our Green Bank and our Marlinton offices – and then in Clay as well,” Becher said.

Collett said the $5,000 donation would enable CCWV to expand the program to more chronically ill patients this year.

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