LUMBERTON — Southeastern Health has been awarded a $60,000 grant by the Walmart Foundation in support of nutrition education for both Robeson and Bladen counties.
Funding provided by the one-year “Homegrown Health” grant will be used by SeHealth’s Community Health Services department to take messages about proper nutrition and healthy eating habits to students in each county first, then branching out to the community at large.
“The focus of this grant is to raise awareness of the availability of healthy foods in communities in these counties,” said Brandon Rivera, Healthy Robeson project specialist for SeHealth who, along with Community Health Services Supervisor Phillip Richardson, co-authored the grant. “The two main goals are serving as a change agent for healthier eating habits and to improve the overall health of residents.”
“Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are pleased to support Southeastern Health,” said Brooke Mueller, director Public Affairs and Government Relations, Walmart. “Walmart understands the importance of nutrition education and is delighted to help bring healthy eating classes to the community through this grant.”
The grant will enable SeHealth to host healthy eating classes in elementary school for students, teachers and parents, as well as community cooking classes and events. In addition to the public school systems, partners will include local libraries and community colleges.
“This grant will enhance ongoing efforts our Community Health Services and Project H.E.A.L.T.H. departments have implemented to address childhood obesity and improving the general heath of our communities,” said Southeastern Health Foundation Director Sissy Grantham, who, along with Sam’s Club Manager Randy Womack, pursued the grant on SeHealth’s behalf. “What better way to impact healthy living than starting with enhanced education for the children in our communities,” said Grantham.
Individuals who are reached by the grant will also receive recyclable grocery bags filled with educational materials about proper nutrition choices.
“Although Robeson and Bladen counties are ranked as two of the poorest counties in North Carolina, it is through grants like this that we can demonstrate that good health is attainable, even when personal financial resources are limited,” added Grantham. “Empowering our communities to find ways to live healthy-even while on a budget-is something that will positively impact future generations of healthier citizens.”