Grantee Blog 2020

GRACE Taught Me Grace

In the summer of 2018, I was introduced to GRACE through the Junior League of Summit – it was the draw that prompted me to join the league.   My passion, my business, my mission in life is to empower people and change the world through optimal health and happiness.  So as a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, GRACE was the perfect vehicle for me to volunteer and foster my mission in helping people within our local community.  

Little did I realize that I was the one being served.   I was the one who learned so much.  I was the one whose life was also changing and evolving from our amazing shoppers in our beautiful community.

Before COVID, GRACE was a small family of volunteers and shoppers (average 90 families.)  Every Tuesday evening, which was distribution night, we would gather with the most glorious bounty of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, bagels, and whatever else was in need at the time.   We, the volunteers, stood on one side of the table donned with beautiful table clothes, and our shoppers would pass by us selecting what they needed and DESIRED for their families.  We would chat, we would talk about family members, we would talk about recipes – (even if we did not speak the same language) because we were a community.  In those 2 hours at our beautiful green market, there were no differences among us.  We were a community coming together for a big picture – us to serve; our shoppers to shop.  And to shop for nutrient-rich healthy delicious foods!!!  My heart soared every single Tuesday evening!

Now, with COVID, our mission is dire and critical.  Our shoppers have doubled, tripled, and quadrupled.  It’s not as personal.  It’s not as intimate.  But our purpose, now more than ever, is two-fold.  As always, every person at GRACE leaves with a bag busting at the seams with an array of fresh produceand a second bag of shelf stable food, including fresh bread, paper products, even pet supplies, if needed.  Health is so much more than just food.   It’s about dignity, respect and feeling like you are part of something.  Our goal is that every person feels that they matter to us.  That they are relevant.  That they are an integral part of our community and will never be forgotten. This is GRACE.

Ilyse DiChiara, CINHC


About the Grantee


GRACE stands for Giving and Receiving Assistance for our Community’s Essentials. While essentials can mean nutrient-dense food, we also aspire to enable the security, stabilization and success for all our community’s households.