Fresh organic fruits and vegetables were delicately placed in what Marion Henson calls “Bloom Boxes.” The Mount Vernon native entered the Westchester County Office of Economic Development’s Launch1000 Program in November 2020 and her dream of filling neighbors in need with food, is already growing.

She’s set up shop at 595 Main Street inside the now-closed historic Loew’s Theater. Calling her business, “Bloom Healthy,” customers can purchase boxes of fresh produce for themselves or pay-it-forward and buy a box for someone in need. On Henson’s first day, there were already 40 online orders with half of them pay-it-forward boxes.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “Ms. Henson’s business is more than a business. It’s a community partnership. Here’s an entrepreneur that absorbed the resources of the Launch1000 Program to give back and it’s heartwarming to see so many people taking to task the idea of helping others have nutritious meals.”

Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the Westchester County Office of Economic Development Deborah Novick said: “It’s truly unbelievable how the richness of people’s life experiences have become so accessible through this program. With so many Launchers participating, and sharing their expertise, there is magic happening within this program, which provides encouragement, support and networking. It is such a benefit to offer training to make a living while continuing to build the economy. To see Bloom Healthy literally just bloom, is inspirational.”

Henson connected with other Launchers who volunteered to pack boxes and even provide food from their garden. Henson chose New Rochelle to start her business because she is a graduate of the College of New Rochelle and connected with the neighborhoods in the city.

Henson said: “I have a real love of the community. I know there are different groups of people here in New Rochelle, from those who are food insecure and those who are not. I wanted to help wherever I could.”

Sign up to purchase or provide a Bloom Box. Pick-ups are every Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More than 700 Westchester residents have applied to Launch1000. The final cohort will be admitted on July 26. Applications are still open, and interested participants can learn more about the program and apply.