Irvington Township Health Department appreciates the ShapingNJ grant program to support our community for this third round of grant. Our mission is to encourage, promote and assure the development of an active, healthy community through innovative public health practices.
With funding from the previous rounds of ShapingNJ Irvington Grants, the Health Department and the Mayor’s office worked together effectively (along with the Board of Education, Public Housing Authority, local business, faith base and community partner organizations ) to establish community gardens on the grounds of the Senior Building and the University Middle School, create 2 separate walking clubs constituted by over 240 hundred participants, establish a community gardening club of over 65 members, promote healthy food choices at four local bodegas near schools, create an open play streets program about 2000 residents participated , and develop healthy life style educational materials for community consumption. Momentum from these initiatives has spread through Irvington and other community gardens have sprung up at the Waris Cultural Center and within the township’s East Ward. The Mayor’s office and the health department have even been successful in garnering other funds from the Wells Fargo Foundation to supplement these efforts, providing seed dollars for the East Ward Joint Block Association to create a truly exceptional garden.
For the first time in the history of Irvington, 20 Irvington seniors have participated during the last couple of New Jersey Seniors Olympics at Woodbridge and have won 7 gold medals, 5 bronze & 2 silver in different games!
With the third round of funds from ShapingNJ, Irvington will spearhead activities that will lead to the expansion of physical activity of local play/open streets program. This involves the continuation of the successful outdoor program initiated in 2013 and the addition of 2 indoor play events at the local community center and at Irvington High School. The promotion of healthy nutrition offerings recently at four bodegas initiated with the ShapingNJ will also be expanded with the addition of two new bodega partners and more racks for healthy foods at existing partner locations in the proximity of public schools. Additionally, we plan to support the creation of another community garden and gardening club at one of our elementary schools. We will be working with Meadowlink and Rutgers University’s Voorhees Transportation Center in order to develop township wide pedestrian crash mapping and execute a walkability and bikeability assessment focusing on the establishment of safe walking and biking routes to public schools.
Stay tuned for more information!