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Health Equity Fund Grantee Highlights

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Health Equity Fund Grantee Highlights

In 2017- 2018, the city awarded roughly $2.7 million to 19 non-profit agencies for programs aimed at decreasing health disparities and increasing health equity in the City of Boulder. Check out these highlights from 2018 Health Equity Fund grantees!

YWCA Children's Alley

YWCA Children's Alley​At the YWCA Children’s Alley program, physical activity, wellness and nutrition are an integral part of child care services. So far in 2018, Health Equity Fund allocations provided more than 700 active play and nutrition sessions to young children – including “shopping at the farmers market” activities – and healthy meals for more than 200 children. Staff observe increased physical activity, listening skills, sociability and motor skills development, which are linked to better overall health. Tori Anderson, Children’s Alley Wellness Coordinator, said, “We provide a well-rounded service to engage the children in more physical activity and hands-on lessons about fruits and vegetables. Parents love when their kid leaves with produce and endless conversation about yoga, fitness, or dance class.”

No Student Hungry

For some City of Boulder kids, food served in the school cafeteria may be the only meal they have each day. The No Student Hungry program , a partnership between the Boulder Valley School District, Community Food Share and YMCA of Boulder Valley, provides bags of prepared food to children and families on weekends and over holidays when school is not in session. With help from the Health Equity Fund, as of the end of the 2017-18 school year, more than 500 food bags were distributed across 13 schools each week. Said one program parent, “My preschooler always looks forward bringing the bag home and helps to prepare the meals. She is more willing to try the new foods and fresh produce, and likes them!"

Fresh Food Connect

Just in time for gardening season, Boulder Food Rescue's Fresh Food Connect program received a Health Equity Fund grant to increase the amount of fresh, locally grown produce distributed to low-income residents. The program uses a mobile app to identify new sources of produce – including that which is donated by residents with home gardens – that its volunteers pick up by bicycle and distribute to housing centers and child care centers. Not only does the program help feed low-income individuals and families, it also helps avoid unnecessary food waste. Boulder Food Rescue Director Hayden Dansky said, "Because of this program, we’re much more connected to our community, donors and grocer partners. Fresh Food Connect is enabling us to do what we do better, with more efficiency and more integrity.” 

Healthy Cooking

“Don’t set your expectations low. Healthy eating is easier than what you might think,” advised Mary Collette Rogers, to older adult residents participating in the City of Boulder Senior Services department’s June "Healthy Cooking" class. The two-hour Healthy Cooking Classes , held each month, help increase the ability of older adults to make and eat food that is healthy, affordable and easy to prepare. The classes are made possible through the Health Equity Fund and the Boulder Seniors Foundation.

Each class involves discussion on healthy eating and the unique dietary needs of older adults; hands-on food preparation; and a newsletter with health research and the recipes used in class. Participants report eating more diverse and healthier foods; enjoying the taste of vegetables they had not tried before. A diet of diverse, healthy foods can result in increased resistance to illness and disease.

Farmers Market Food Assistance

Eating locally grown, fresh fruit and produce from the Boulder County Farmers Market (BCFM) is an opportunity available to families receiving Women, Infant and Children (WIC) assistance, thanks to the BCFM Food Assistance Incentives program . With support from the Health Equity Fund, vouchers are distributed to WIC recipients to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs and cheese at the market. So far in 2018, roughly 450 lower-income city residents have been served through the program; three-fourths of the participating families were first time farmers market patrons. Feedback from program participants indicates it is a success. One participant shared, “I am so grateful for the ability to buy fresh, local organic produce using WIC dollars. I love having access to quality food and teaching my little one about local food and to meet the farmers."

The program also benefits local farmers, like Jeremy Marsh from Rocky Mountain Fresh who said, “The WIC program enables us to provide our produce to customers of all types, enabling families who wouldn’t have the opportunity to shop at farmers markets to receive the highest quality/freshest produce available.”