Building on the Momentum

As a final wrap-up, we wanted to let everyone know where our projects have gone and where they are going. We have utilized our grant for four different programs:

Community Garden: The children loved learning about planting and caring for a garden. We didn’t just give them a fish, we taught them how to fish, how to provide healthy vegetables for themselves and their families. They learned how to utilized what they grew, tried new veggies they never heard of before and shared ways to prepare the garden delights!  We plan to continue and grow the garden, there are two other gardens in town which we would like to partner with to expand our reach.

Play Streets: We were able to secure two partners for Play Streets, both Loman’s Auto Sales and Services in Woodbridge as well as Hot 97 Radio have become sponsors of Play Streets and have helped us to create a wonderful year end play street event.  We do hope to continue this program next year.

Farmers Market: Our farmers market was a huge success, providing fresh produce to our community particularly the seniors and those on SNAP have enjoyed having the market here. We plan to close the market at the end of October and do hope that the farmers and patrons will return next year.

Teen Center: Our teen center will resume this winter to again help get teens off the streets and into the Y to exercise and socialize with their friends. Given the sheer volume of teens that arrive for teen center (500+), we need help!  The cost of enough staff to ensure everyone’s safety is of utmost importance.  Without the ability to staff the Y, we would not be able to continue the program. The younger teens are excited to try to help us raise funds to keep this vital program going by creating a video for  a Crowdfunding campaign.  We do hope that we are able to raise enough funds to continue the program until the next grant cycle.

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If you build it, they will come

The expansion of the walking path at the Salem County Recreation Park is complete! The expanded path is a half of mile long and ADA complaint. It loops around softball and soccer fields along a wooded tree line. Walkers have been out in full force enjoying the expanded walking path.

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The installation of two exercise stations, a bike rack, and marker signs are expected to be installed in the beginning of October. Improvements to the parks such as benches, shrubs, trees, and a fence are in the future plans for this park. Position of equipment

Improving our parks will provide physical activity opportunities and can help people of all ages lead a more active lifestyle. According to the countyhealthrankings.org, in Salem County only 82 percent of the population has adequate access to exercise opportunities.  The NJ state average is 96 percent and the US top performers are at 92 percent. Investing in our parks and open space is an investment in our community.

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In 2015, Salem County overall health ranking improved #18 out of 21 NJ counties.  A small improvement from the 2014  ranking of #19. We will take it! Thank you Shaping NJ and the other organizations that invest in improving the health of Salem County.

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The Salem County Health Department is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles.

National Night Out

This year marked the 29th year the National Association of Town Watch. The Maplewood Police Department invited the public to join them in observing National Night Out.

National Night Out took place on Tuesday, August 4th from 6PM till 9PM. The event was held at DeHart Park, 120 Burnett Avenue in Maplewood NJ.

The event promoted various crime prevention programs including: neighborhood watch groups, neighbor home security surveys, crime prevention tips and bike registration.

Since 1984, the National Bike Registry (NBR®) has been working with law enforcement to return stolen bikes to their rightful owners. A bike registered with NBR, the only true national database, can be identified by police and returned to its rightful owner instead of being sold at an auction.

By registering your bike in the National Bike Registry. You will receive a Certificate of Registration and a tamper-resistant NBR label to identify your bike. Then, if your bike is ever stolen and recovered, no matter where, it can be returned to you.

All members of the community participated in this year’s event. The event was free to participants and included food, drinks, music, video game truck, bounce house, dunk tank and other activities. A police car, fire truck, and an ambulance was on display. All participants were be able to their register bicycles.