Shaping Elizabeth Receives Department of Health Shaping NJ Mini Grant for:
Corner Store Initiative to support Healthy Eating!
Play Streets to get everyone moving!
The Gateway Family YMCA is honored to lead and participate on the Shaping Elizabeth Community Health Initiative. Alane McCahey, Senior Director for Community Initiatives has served as the Project Manager since 2013 and will continue in this role. Alane will champion the Corner Store Initiative with the Healthy Nutrition Work Group led by Jonathan Phillips, Executive Director Groundwork Elizabeth and Karen Ensle, EdD, RDN, FAND, CFCS, Dept Head/FCHS Educator/Associate Professor, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. Michael Johnson, Director of Association Initiative, The Gateway Family YMCA along with Active Living Work Group Leaders, Krishna Garlic, Director of Health and Human Services, City of Elizabeth and Bill Butler, Associate Executive Director from the YMCA will champion our Play Streets Project.
The grant will allow us to work with local small stores and bodega owners. We plan to educate store owners about the benefits to the community and their business to offer healthy food options. With the support of community volunteers we will identify stores in the vicinity of schools and the Marvalag Housing Authority. We hope to impact healthy eating for the children of local schools and the families that live in Marvalag. In the first year of the program we are hoping to impact 4 stores in our community. To get us started we have invited Anna Ramos, New Jersey Food Access Coordinator from The Food Trust to speak to our Work Group Member in March.
In addition to the Corner Store Initiative we wanted to impact the community for Active Living. We plan to offer 4 Play Streets in Elizabeth targeting areas we identified in the most need, Elizabethport, Bayway (Marvalag Housing) and Mid Town Elizabeth. With the support of the City of Elizabeth from June –September we will offer one play street per month complete with activities for children and adults coupled with screenings and living healthy tips from our partner organizations. The play streets will be marketed using social media including our new Shaping Elizabeth Facebook page which we hope to have launched by April. We are hoping to engage over 100 children and their families with each play street with a larger goal of increased physical activity every day through increased awareness of what is being offered in the City of Elizabeth that community members may not be aware of.
So Much More to Come…… We are excited to get STARTED!