LUMBERTON — Southeastern Health has been awarded a $60,000 grant by the Walmart Foundation to go towards nutrition education in Robeson and Bladen counties.
Southeastern Health’s Community Health Services department will use the one-year “Homegrown Health” to take messages about proper nutrition and healthy eating habits to students in each county first, then branching out to the community at large.
“The focus of this grant is to raise awareness of the availability of healthy foods in communities in these counties,” said Brandon Rivera, a Healthy Robeson project specialist for Southeastern Health who, along with Community Health Services Supervisor Phillip Richardson, co-authored the grant. “The two main goals are serving as a change agent for healthier eating habits and to improve the overall health of residents.”
The grant will enable Southeastern Health to host healthy eating classes in elementary school for students, teachers and parents, as well as community cooking classes and events. In addition to the public school systems, partners will include local libraries and community colleges.
“This grant will enhance ongoing efforts our Community Health Services and Project HEALTH departments have implemented to address childhood obesity and improving the general heath of our communities,” said Sissy Grantham, director of the Southeastern Health Foundation. “What better way to impact healthy living than starting with enhanced education for the children in our communities.”
People who are reached by the grant will receive recyclable grocery bags filled with educational materials about proper nutrition choices.
“Although Robeson and Bladen counties are ranked as two of the poorest counties in North Carolina, it is through grants like this that we can demonstrate that good health is attainable, even when personal financial resources are limited,” Grantham said.
Southeastern Health, a nonprofit, is accredited by The Joint Commission and includes Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton, a 452-bed medical center offers acute care, intensive care and psychiatric services to more than 16,000 inpatients and 68,000 emergency patients annually.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country and have made a $2 billion commitment to fight hunger in America through 2015.