by Annie Hardison-Moody
Last Sunday, we held a community-wide celebration at White Oak Missionary Baptist Church in Lillington to release our food assessment report for Harnett County. Harnett County residents, volunteers, and representatives of community organizations contributed to the report, which examined a variety of resources in the county related to food access – including Harnett County families, faith communities, food pantries, farms, and corner stores.
The event was a lot of fun! We talked with families from across the county about what kinds of healthy foods they would like to see in corner stores, what their priorities were for promoting access to healthy foods and physical activity, and we shared what we learned from the mothers, grandmothers, farmers, food pantry directors, and faith communities we have worked with over the last couple of years through this project.
One of the highlights of the event was the bands from Ellington Studios. We were all so impressed by the musical talent these young people possessed – their classic rock songs kept us all energized throughout the first half of the event. After the band, we had two fitness sessions from Fit 4 Life Health Clubs in Dunn. The Zumba class was a big hit, even in the hot afternoon sun!
In addition to this entertainment and activity, there was produce for sale from Jacob’s Mobile Market, as well as cooking demonstrations for kids and adults from the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). The Healthy Grills on Wheels food truck served healthy wraps and snacks.
We are excited to continue working with organizations in Harnett County, and as you might have read in the blog in April, we have awarded several mini-grants to groups that are working on food access and physical activity initiatives. ThinkSmart Outreach Center, Lillington Star Free Will Baptist Church, Campbell University Jacob’s Mobile Market were awarded mini-grants in 2013. VIA recently awarded five new mini-grants for 2014. Organizations receiving grants in 2014 include Lillington Star Free Will Baptist Church, Excel Outreach Center, Harnett County Partnership for Children, and Wonder Years Preschool.
All in all, it was a great day in Harnett County. We want to say a big thank you to all of the community partners, VIA staff, volunteers, and residents who came out to show their support for the great work that is happening through Harnett Voices into Action.