Thanks to Fern Kulman, Health Educator for Woodbridge Township residents who access the local food banks were provided helpful tips and information on nutrition during their most recent visit. Fern is working closely with volunteers and partnering organizations to make the nutrition information available to local residents. On hand last month at the food banks were our Dietician Irene McShane and Health Educator Fern Kulman.
Woodbridge Wellness Team’s key partners for the Nutrition Education segment at local food banks are the “We Feed” Coalition, St. Cecelia’s Food Pantry, the First Baptist Church Pantry, Mayor’s Wellness Coalition, SNAP, Middlesex County Safe Kids Coalition and the Iselin Pharmacy
The Wellness Team identified the current partners according to the goals established for the grant. Fern Kulman conducted a thorough search to select the chosen partners and enhance the program’s objectives. The current partners are the above stated Food Pantries, SNAP, and Middlesex County Safe Kids Coalition. A collaborative relationship was quickly established with the aforementioned members due to a long standing relationship with these groups.
The warmer weather has also fueled our walking path progress. Our Wellness Team met with key stakeholders to plan out the walking path improvements. A path was chosen for improvement and the signage upgrades were considered. In addition, we are working on a draft of the walking path guide to improve awareness. Our walking path partners are the staff and seniors at Evergreen Senior Center, Middlesex County Safe Kids Coalition, Director of Economic Development, Health Educator, Director of Planning and Development and the Director of Public Works. All were chosen due to their interest and success in establishing previous walking paths in Town.
Woodbridge Township Department of Health, in partnership with the Mayors Wellness Coalition is excited to announce that we have been awarded a ShapingNJ Community Improvement Grant to improve physical activity and nutrition within the Township. These two new initiatives will complement and build on the outstanding progress already made in Woodbridge Township to encourage residents to be more physically active and to improve their nutrition and wellness.
The physical activity strategy will target both adults and children who fail to meet the Center for Disease Control guidelines for daily physical activity. Since physical activity levels are positively affected by structural environments like the availability of sidewalks and trails Woodbridge will install an additional walking path to add to the existing ten walking paths currently in place in Woodbridge Township. We will also enhance the existing paths 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. These strategies will encourage residents to make use of these opportunities and amenities and increase 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.
The strategy for healthy nutrition will focus on a local organization called We Feed. We Feed is a coalition of local food banks within the Township. The healthy nutrition initiative will include the implementation of a healthy food/nutrition policy for the “We Feed” Committee, creation of a Healthy Eating Brochure and a training session with a Nutrition Consultant for the We Feed Food Pantries. Two food pantries will be selected for initial implementation of the new program based upon the maximum number of families served monthly. The Nutrition Consultant will be available for assessment and consultations at the selected pantries. The training will focus on best practices related to organizing healthy food donation baskets for families in need, developing a preferred healthy food donation list and creating simple healthy recipes from common food donations. Once established, we hope these new best practices will enable the Food Bank to more effectively meet the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable populations of the community.