Linda...Health On Wheels
Linda always had a passion for cooking. Originally from Brooklyn, Linda raised her children on nourishing, home cooked meals. After Linda relocated to Upstate NY, she began farming. It was at this time, Linda started selling the excess produce at farmer’s markets and augmented her products with breads, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods.
As Linda’s business grew, she contacted the local Department of Health, to expand her permit to allow her to sell healthy, gluten free, non-GMO and vegan meals to her customers. It was during this time, Linda re-applied to ACCES-VR and met her Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Kelly Steward and began exploring options of expanding her business.
Through counseling and guidance and a review of Linda’s disability and limitations due to severe scoliosis, it was determined self-employment was the best means to assist Linda in meeting her employment goals. ACCES-VR worked closely with Linda to assist her with finalizing her business plan and researching additional funding sources. ACCES-VR continued to provide Linda with guidance to ensure all equipment purchased would lessen the physical demands of the job. In the end, Linda was able to maximize ACCES-VR’s financial support to purchase equipment for her food truck and successfully launch the business in June 2021.
Linda was recently honored with a 2021 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Regional Award for Entrepreneur. Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Andrew Tunison credits Linda’s success to her motivation and persistence, stating, “Linda was engaged in every aspect of the process and took an active and patient role in making her dream of a successful food truck a reality”.
Linda’s food truck, Health On Wheels, can be found at farmer’s markets, breweries and food truck events in Delaware, Otsego, Broome, Greene, and Sullivan Counties. Linda’s future plans include expanding into the Albany, Kingston, and Binghamton areas, with an expanded menu to include breakfast.
This story was submitted by Ashley Paciello
Regional Workforce Development and Business Relations Coordinator
Southern Tier District Office