Enhance Asian Community on Health as one recipient of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation grants

Wellesley, Mass.  – Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation today announced it has awarded $202,950 in new ‘Healthy Food for Every Age’ grants to 22 not-for-profit initiatives in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.  The funded programs are designed to help older adults eat better and stay connected to their communities through community garden, cooking, and nutrition programs.  Grant awards are renewable for one additional year. These new grants bring the total amount of  Healthy Food Fund grants awarded in 2015-2016 to more than $1.6 million.

“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 older adults 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.  Learning how to prepare delicious meals using fresh, local produce is fun and healthy at every stage of life.”

Last year, Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded $1,193,000 in Healthy Food Fund grants to not-for-profit, local garden and food distribution programs. The Foundation has also awarded $240,000 to support mobile farmers’ markets in Worcester and Lowell, Mass., Hartford, Conn., and Lewiston/Auburn, Maine. A fifth mobile market is expected to debut this summer in New Hampshire.

The new 2016 Healthy Food Fund “Healthy Food for Every Age” grant recipients are as follows:

2016 Healthy Food for Every Age Grant Recipients: Massachusetts – Total  Amount $124,119

  • Backyard Growers, Gloucester:  $10,000

To strengthen the community garden program located at McPherson Park, and to create new gardening opportunities for older adults at the Sheedy Building, in downtown Gloucester.  The six-week session, designed to help older adults make healthy food choices, will include daily activities such as gardening, where older adults will work together or in a multi-age environment to prepare shared meals.

  • Bay Cove Human Services, Inc., Dorchester:  $10,000

To pilot a six-week intergenerational cooking class designed to teach older adults and their families how to integrate fresh, local produce from the farmers’ market into their daily meals.

  • Boston Senior Home Care; Randolph: $8,761

To focus on the financial, social and nutritional benefits of gardening along with education about healthy eating through the Garden-to-Healthy Eating project at the Bridle Path Apartments, a subsidized housing complex.  This will include working in an existing community garden and a six-week evidence-based healthy eating and food preparation training.

  • Brookwood Community Farm, Mattapan and Blue Hills: $6,500

To design and implement a six-week summer food education and cooking program for Mattapan youth and older adults, to help maintain their cultural connections to food.

  • Coastline Elderly Services, Inc; New Bedford, Fairhaven:  $9,371

To provide a six-week series of nutrition education and cooking classes for older adults in New Bedford and Fairhaven, four times a year.  The workshop will include nutrition label reading, and information on how a healthy diet can offset chronic health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

  • Enhance Asian Community on Health; Middlesex, Suffolk, and Norfolk Counties:  $10,000

Support the Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults cooking workshops conducted at senior centers, congregate housing, and the Community Health Center.  This program will address health disparities through healthy eating literacy training.

  • Lancaster Council on Aging, Lancaster:  $10,000

To create a two-part gardening, cooking education, and dining series to bring seniors and young adults together to learn about culturally rich foods.  With a focus on diversity, the program will feature “celebrity” chefs cooking with affordable, local and seasonal produce.

  • New England Veterans Liberty House, Lawrence:  $10,000

To establish a cooking project for seniors with a special emphasis on older veterans, who will be invited to cook meals at the food pantry.  This six-week program will incorporate a wellness fair, a cooking class, grocery shopping guidance to encourage healthy purchases, and nutrition training.

  • Old Colony Y, Taunton:  $10,000

To build upon the work of Mass in Motion to engage older adults in opportunities for healthy eating while staying connected to the community through an intergenerational community garden program.  The six-week initiative will expand upon existing gardens, make them more accessible for older adults, and include cooking and nutrition workshops.

  • Randolph Board of Health; Randolph: $10,000

To provide healthy cooking classes to Vietnamese and Haitian residents, with the cultural and linguistic support of a Community Health Worker.

  • Roxbury Tenants of Harvard; Mission Hill and Roxbury:  $9,487

To support a series of six “Jazz Up Your Veggies” nutrition education and cooking classes for residents.

  • The Open Door, Gloucester:  $10,000

To support the Good Food-itude for Seniors program including nutrition services, improving consumption of healthy food, increase access to SNAP benefits, and reduce social isolation.

  • Wellspring, Inc., Hull:  $10,000

This intergenerational program will bring together older adults and middle/high school students to plan, plant, maintain, and harvest the newly renovated “Judy’s Garden” to provide fresh produce for the Wellspring’s Food Pantry.

2016 Healthy Food for Every Age Grant Recipients: Maine – Total Amount: $36,945

  • Falmouth Food Pantry;  Falmouth and Greater Portland:  $6,945

To install a dripless irrigation system, purchase garden tools, improve pantry access and develop a cookbook.  In late 2016, cold frames will be put on the garden.

  • Good Shephard Food Bank of Maine; Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Sagadahoc, and York Counties:  $10,000

A total of 10, six-week Cooking Matters classes will help participants shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget.  These classes will be held in conjunction with Maine SNAP-Ed.  A total of 80 older adults are expected to participate.

  • SeniorsPlus; Lewiston:  $10,000

Six cooking classes, with interpretation and written translation for 10 Somali and other older adult refugees beginning in Feb. 2017 upon completion of new dining site.

  • Spectrum Generations; Greater Hallowell : $10,000

Starting in June 2016, four, six-week chef-led cooking classes featuring local foods will be designed for grandparents and grandchildren.  Enrollment in government food aid programs is part of the initiative.

2016 Healthy Food for Every Age Grant Recipients:  New Hampshire – Total Amount $41,886

  • Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack; Allenstown, Suncook:  $8,820

Fresh food purchases for Meals on Wheels, and gardening and cooking/nutrition classes with the Boys & Girls Club youth. As many as 3,500 older adults and their families will benefit.

  • Granite State Independent Living, Manchester:  $8,859

Garden creation and cooking classes for older adults.

  • Salemhaven, Salem:  $4,207

Gardening with the youth from the Boys & Girls Club and cooking classes led by a chef.

  • The Caregivers, Inc.; Manchester, Nashua:  $10,000

Support for the mobile food pantry program, combined with nutrition education and materials in Spanish. A total of 30 older adults from urban neighborhoods will receive services and a senior hunger drive is expected to yield 10,000 pounds of food for the pantry.

  • The Granite YMCA, Manchester:  $10,000

To support an intergenerational summer cooking, nutrition and gardening program for 24 older adults and 48 middle school students.


About The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation 

Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 201, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded nearly $2.3 million in grants to 700 not-for-profit organizations in the region.  Since its inception, the Foundation has granted nearly $135 million in funds and resources throughout the four states.

Starting in 2015, the Foundation began expanding its focus on preventing childhood obesity to help families and communities eat healthier by launching the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund.  This grants program is aimed at supporting healthy food initiatives that increase access to fresh, healthy, and whenever possible, local food for families and communities in all of Harvard Pilgrim’s five markets across the region.  For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.

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