Woodbridge Wellness Coalition Moving Ahead

SNAP-Ed @ Public Health DayWegmans PHD

The implementation of grant strategies in Woodbridge is moving forward.  The nutrition strategy has support from the many persons involved in the “We Feed” Food Bank.  The “We Feed” Chairman has been very receptive and accommodating to the nutrition outreach.  The numerous volunteers of the various food banks have also been very cooperative.  They have welcomed us to conduct outreach at some locations so we could meet individually with food bank recipients.  Health Department staff is always willing to lend a hand and a SNAP representative was available to participate in our program and also attended our Public Health Day at the Woodbridge Public Health Center in April.  In the walking path initiative we have found overwhelming support from Planning and Development, Public Works and Engineering Departments, as well as, the overall community.  The Engineering Department is currently mapping and measuring our existing paths for the future path brochure.  In addition, Public Works has done a preliminary assessment of the proposed walking path location.

The challenges have been that approximately 80% of the food bank clients speak Spanish only.   In addition, many food banks have inadequate space to do outreach on-site.  Both conditions tend to limit our ability to communicate the importance of food nutrition.  Moreover, some Pantries have no available kitchen facilities for food demonstrations on-site.  In the walking path strategy the adverse winter weather has slightly delayed the work needed for the new walking path.  The Public Works Department is still currently focusing on repairing the winter damage.  This necessary work has pushed back our time frame for adding a new path at the Woodbridge High School field location.

We have been able to overcome the Spanish only challenge by finding Spanish speaking volunteers to assist us.  A healthy food demonstration was conducted by Wegman’s at Public Health Day instead of a Food Bank Location.  The SNAP Nutrition Assistance Program Education SNAP-ED also provided assistance in the Food Bank client outreach.  Although the walking path strategy schedule has been modified we found that we could focus our attention on other areas in this strategy so that we can continue to move forward.  Overall, despite some minor challenges the implementation of the strategies has progressed well up to this point.

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