Healthy Food for Every Age
Manchester, NH: The statistics are sobering. More than 25% of NH children are overweight or obese. Left unchecked, this condition can lead to a host of health conditions as children age including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“This is a serious issue in New Hampshire as well as across the United States,” says Leslee Stewart, VP of Development at The Granite YMCA. “That’s why we are so pleased to collaborate with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation who provided us with a charitable grant to support a healthier future for local kids.”
Beginning this past spring, The Granite YMCA and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation have engaged in a community partnership aimed at teaching kids about healthy food choices. The partnership was kicked off with teens and seniors planting a variety of vegetables in a wooly pocket garden at the YMCA of Downtown Manchester. Vegetables were then harvested throughout the summer by the Power Scholar students and were used in their cooking classes and snack period.
“Healthy eating habits are important at every age, but they can make a big difference as we get older and our nutritional needs change,” said Karen Voci, President of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “These grants support programs that bring adult volunteers and young people together to garden and to cook – activities that can help all of us feel better and improve our health and well-being. It also provides kids with the important building blocks of a healthy lifestyle.”
Ms. Stewart noted that teaching kids that healthy food tastes good and can be easy to make, is one of the keys to the success of the program. Throughout the program, students learned how to make a variety of recipes and created a recipe book to take home. “Among the favorites were broccoli mac and cheese and baked chicken fries,” she said.
Mentors and students also explored the creative arts side with food photography and still life painting. They also learned how to make compositions stay fresh looking (ice cream melts, for instance), by choosing a selection of healthy foods and a “palette”, so they could paint and photograph their displays.
Building off the success of the summer program, the Y has implemented a “Taking Time for Teens” mentoring program during the school year. Partnering seniors with teens, the program provides bi-weekly adventures such as snowshoeing, exploring the Greater Manchester area and its cultural offerings, line dancing, and of course building relationships and breaking bread with new healthy treats.
“We greatly appreciate the kind support of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation,” said Ms. Stewart. “Their generosity has been integral in helping the YMCA provide a healthy foundation for the children in our programs.” For more information about the program, please contact Ms. Stewart at 603-782-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation:
The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s Health Care’s mission to improve the quality of and value of health care for the people and the communities it serves by helping to build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. To learn more, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org.
About The Granite YMCA:
As one of the state’s longest standing and most enduring non-profits, The Granite YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living, social responsibility, and family strengthening. Across the state, its six branches engage 30,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to improve their health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In 2016, The Granite YMCA provided financial assistance and free services valued at over $1.63 million to 19,872 individuals. To learn more, please visit www.graniteymca.org.