Woodbridge moved forward this month with the Food Pantry Nutrition Program from the ShapingNJ grant. The healthy nutrition initiative will include the implementation of a healthy food/nutrition policy for the “We Feed” Committee and the creation of a Healthy Eating Brochure. Our Dietician will also provide training to the “We Feed” Food Pantries and meet with clientele of the food panties to discuss nutrition. This strategy was chosen because our local food pantries have grown and become very active over the past few years under the guidance of “We Feed” and we wanted to help coordinate a common nutrition policy that all pantries could work from. Our Wellness Team had a vibrant meeting with the “We Feed” coalition which is a group of 10 local food pantries. “We Feed” Chairman, Peter Barcellona expressed great interest in the potential this grant has to assist the food pantries in helping the local community. After active group discussion, two local food pantries were selected for participation in the Grant: St. Celia Food Pantry and the First Baptist Church Food Pantry, Sewaren.
After a short but intensive search, a Registered Dietician was hired to work with our selected food pantries. Fern Kulman, Health Educator is working closely with our Dietician to develop a frame work to implement the Nutrition Plan and assist the food pantries. All the local food pantries completed a short assessment survey so that we could get a quick baseline of their current activity and knowledge. We also developed a short survey for those who use the local community food banks. Flyers highlighting the program have also been finalized.
The physical activity strategy aspect of the grant will target both adults and children who fail to meet the Center for Disease Control guidelines for daily physical activity. Our strategy will create one new walking path and enhance the existing walking paths in the community so that they are more visible and functional by installing signage, mileage markings and bike racks. In addition, we will create “Walking Path” brochures and other materials concerning these amenities to create awareness and educate the community about their availability, locations and benefits. This strategy was chosen because we realized that the walking paths were not being used to their full potential due to lack of community awareness. Our changes will encourage residents to make use of these opportunities and amenities thereby increasing their levels of physical activity. The addition of these amenities will promote physical activity broadly within the Township and the new brochures will inform the residents that they are available for use while touting the health benefits of physical activity. This two prong approach will promote, support and foster healthy behaviors within the community and thus increase the number of adults and children who meet the physical activity guidelines established by Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Due to the adverse weather conditions through February our actions relative to this strategy were strictly of the planning nature. We look forward to warmer walking weather.