This final blog is a little late but for good reason….I waited until our “September Stroll” to post. The first day of Autumn was picture perfect! The sun was bright, sky was blue and the temperature mild. A good part of the spring and summer were spent building this path in Lynn Park and now it was officially being inaugurated with our Lincoln Park Seniors. We were hoping for at least 10 seniors to show up, but happily had 37 seniors plus many other walkers! The Health Educator from Chilton Hospital’s New Vitality Program, Kathy Ferrara, ShopRite’s Registered Dietitian, Danielle Colombo, and Bloomfield Health Department’s Health Educator, Michael Hodges, were all present to support and educate on the many benefits of walking. Michael Hodges presented a David Letterman-style “Top Ten” countdown of the benefits of walking. We also had the pleasure of Kate Kraft walking with us! It was a fun way to start our Senior Walking Club! The walking club will meet 2-4 times/month, but many seniors and residents are already using the path on their own.
Our food environment audit was performed at 16 local dining and retail establishments in Lincoln Park. We found some positive factors, such as heart healthy options, organic choices and nutritional counseling in ShopRite, but there is definitely room for improvement. Future goals for ShapingNJ include partnering with Wolfson’s Market to create a “corner store,” and creating healthy menu items for some of the local dining establishments. Kate Kraft had some great recommendations on healthy eating as well as “walking prescriptions,” that we can incorporate going forward.
This has been a wonderful experience for Lincoln Park and we look forward to keeping the momentum going towards better health!
The path construction is complete and now the planting begins!
Lincoln Park will be adding beautiful flora in locations along the path as well as 2 park benches for those who need to rest along the way. A boulder with a plaque will greet travelers who decide to embark on the path. It will read:
“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads”
To kick off our new walking/running path, we will host a “September Stroll” for our Lincoln Park Senior Citizens Club. Each senior that participates will receive a pedometer at the beginning of the stroll and light refreshments at the end. We are hoping to encourage the continuation of a senior walking club with this inauguration!
Our Food Environment Assessment was well-received by the retail and dining establishments in Lincoln Park. Because of this audit, we have identified two areas going forward to partner and add healthier options for consumers. It is wonderful to live or work in a small community where people know your name and are always obliging to help make it a better place. We are very grateful to ShapingNJ and the Atlantic Health System in making Lincoln Park a healthier community!
The summer is racing by lickety-split (as the old saying goes) and so is our grant period in Lincoln Park. We are nearing completion of our 1/2 mile walking path in Lynn Park. It has not been a process without its hurdles though. First, the snow caused delays in the initial start, and then the terrain itself presented its own set of challenges, from poor drainage areas to stubborn tree roots. But, forge ahead we did! We have used tons of pea gravel and man hours to complete the path. We are planning an inaugural walk in September with our very young and spry Lincoln Park Seniors group!
At this point in time, we are planning the finishing touches to the path, having the plaque made to welcome our visitors, and selecting perennial plants and bushes to grace the woodsy setting. A few benches will be installed for the weary traveler along the path to rest, or just rejoice in the beauty of nature!
As for our food environment survey, we have identified a partner to collaborate with on a corner store! This is an ideal opportunity to use resources to help a segment of residents make healthier food choices. Lincoln Park is a small community, tight-knit in many ways, and we all benefit when we work together. Special thanks to Wolfson’s Market, specifically Wayne and Suzanne Wittenberg, on agreeing to partner with us in the future!
Allison Smith, RD, MPH
On a last sad and happy note, our talented and enthusiastic Allison Smith, RD, MPH, at ShopRite of Lincoln Park, is moving on to greener and much higher pastures! She has accepted a position at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and will be moving there very soon! We will miss her very, very much! It is sad for us to lose such a talented and committed asset in Lincoln Park, but happy that she starts a new and exciting chapter in her life! We wish you well Allison!!
(Written by Allison Smith, RD, ShopRite of Lincoln Park) We’re actually way more than halfway to completing our grant project. The two main projects were completing food environment audits for each food establishment in Lincoln Park and building a 1/2 mile walking path at Lynn Park. So far, with the help of our intern, Wincy, we have completed 14 out of the 16 food environment audits.
Food Environment Audits
Of those completed, one was a supermarket, one was a small grocery store, three were delis or small specialty stores, and nine were food service establishments/restaurants. What’s really exciting is that as a result of the audits, the owner of Wolfson’s Market, a small grocery store, has agreed to work with us to promote new healthy options to encourage healthy eating to customers.
Wolfson’s Market, Lincoln Park
This is really a win-win situation for the town and for the business owner because it will support public health efforts and improve sales.
The walking path in Lynn Park is well on its way to completion with the help of Lincoln Park’s public works department, and once it is finished there will be a celebration! It feels like we are really on our way to completing the projects we set our goals on last winter!
Lynn Park, Lincoln Park
Lynn Park, Lincoln Park
In other news, this past Sunday marked the first farmers’ market hosted by Lincoln Park in collaboration with Montville Township. Although not part of the ShapingNJ grant, it’s very exciting to have our first local farmers’ market for the two communities.
The market is held at the Towaco train station on Sundays from 9am-2pm. Last weekend ten vendors participated and hundreds of people attended. It was a great turn out and really exciting for the community!
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
When Michelangelo viewed a block of stone, lump of clay or a blank canvas, he saw a masterpiece patiently waiting to unfold. Slowly, with every stroke of the brush or gentle chisel, the vision came out from hiding, and the Creation of Adam, David or Pieta was created. Not that the Lincoln Park Health Department should compare itself to Michelangelo by any means, but when we see a pile of pea gravel, we see something beautiful waiting to happen. It will be more than a path….it will be a mother pushing a sleeping baby in a stroller on a warm summer day…it will be a runner committed to better health….or 2 friends riding bikes instead of playing video games. We see precious time together, a commitment to healthy living, and an enjoyment of the outdoors. The construction by the Lincoln Park Department of Public Works has finally started on the 1/2 mile path in Lynn Park and it is estimated to be completed in approximately 2 weeks if the weather cooperates.
The other part of our ShapingNJ grant is also underway. We have started our food environment assessment in Lincoln Park in retail food stores. This is very exciting because it has already given us direction in partnering with Wolfson’s Market, a small local grocery store, and improving the knowledge and choices of its consumers! Our assessment will start looking at dining establishments next week with the hope they too will partner with us! The serendipitous result of receiving this grant, is the deepening partnerships within our small community. We have been most fortunate to work with Shop Rite of Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park Middle School, Lincoln Park Seniors and Montclair State University. Our goal is to build on the momentum that has begun and build strong community partnerships dedicated to creating healthier choices.