Page 10 - Friends Newsletter Spring 2015
P. 10

Partnership Programs Promote Healthy Eating
and Active Living

The Wellness Connection recently launched its             The Wellness Connection: For a Healthy
Community Wellness Mini-Grant program. Twice a            Lake Sunapee Region is a community
year, area nonprofit organizations and municipal          health initiative founded by New London
school groups will be invited to apply for awards         Hospital in 2013 with a mission to provide
to advance healthy eating or active living, with          the Lake Sunapee Region communities with
preference for creative partnerships that reach a         a sustainable and collaborative long-term
population in need.                                       plan for measurably improving health and
"We want to give directly back to the community           wellness.
a portion of the generous donation that funds our
work," says Lauren Conkey, Director of The Wellness   backpacks. Every Friday morning, volunteer drivers
Connection. "We are excited to take this next step    deliver those packs to nurses at participating schools
in forming partnerships to create a healthy Lake      for confidential distribution to children identified as
Sunapee Region."                                      being in need.
The following projects were selected for the
first round of funding from a competitive pool        While successful, Executive Director Jim Demers
of applicants, with each targeting a different        has felt that the program could do more. Using a
community within our region:                          Wellness Connection grant, organic juice, organic
                                                      milk and at least one fresh fruit are now included
NEWPORT FOOD PANTRY                                   in each pack. These additions are going over well.
                                                      "I can tell when we hit an item the kids don’t like
Healthy Eating Project: Expanded Weekend School       because it gets returned with the bag!" said Demers.
Backpack Program                                      "So far, we’ve seen no returns of the new items. In
                                                      fact, the number of participants has grown."
Newport Food Pantry Executive Director Jim Demers
                                                      The Food Pantry now fills 62 backpacks each week.
                                                      The last distribution of this school year will be on
                                                      June 20 and will include larger quantities of food
                                                      plus health items such as toothbrushes. Adds
                                                      Demers, "Of all the programs we do here, I think
                                                      this is the most important because it impacts
                                                      children immediately."

The Newport Food Pantry began its weekend food        KEARSARGE REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
backpack program three years ago to provide
at-risk children with child-friendly, nonperishable,  Active Living Project: Take the Extra Step
nutritious foods for weekends during the academic
year. Each week nutrition student Melissa Catsam      The Kearsarge School District has been a leader in
selects a variety of snacks to create well-balanced   creating district-initiated wellness opportunities for
                                                      students and staff for many years. But recently Janet
                                                      Mancuso-Rucker, Media Specialist at Kearsarge

6 | Friends NEWSLETTER | SPRING 2015
   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12