Healthier Together is partnering with Make Health Happen and MTC Community Outreach as part of the Building Resilient and Inclusive Communities (BRIC) grant to make community health improvements in the East St. Louis, Washington Park and the Cahokia Heights area. This collaboration is working to make an impact in three areas:
- increasing access to healthy foods through community gardening and local food pantry improvements;
- creating opportunities for physical activity and transportation access; and,
- building stronger intergenerational connections among residents to alleviate social isolation.
The BRIC grant is made possible with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This funding is administered by the Illinois Public Health Institute in collaboration with Healthier Together.
The goal for revitalizing and maintaining community gardens is to help improve food access by harvesting what is grown and supplying local food pantries with fresh and nutritious foods that can be distributed to community residents. The gardens are located at LaLumier Elementary School, the Christian Activity Center, and the SIUE Charter School campus in East St. Louis. In an effort to kickstart this project, volunteers gathered at the LaLumier Elementary School community garden site on July 17th and helped de-weed 16 garden beds. They were also able to refresh and plant eight raised garden beds. The Christian Activity Center (CAC) is teaching kids ages 5-18 the skills needed to maintain a garden. The CAC has planted a total of 1,150 plants and have already begun providing and selling food at the Samuel Gompers Homes. The SIUE Charter School campus is hosting 45 garden beds, with approximately 35 of them being filled. The success of these efforts can help alleviate food insecurities within this community and help to provide a sustainable supply of fresh and nutritious foods among local residents.
Funding for this project was made possible (in part) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The views expressed in written materials or publications do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
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