By Allie Currie, Contributing Writer
The Heath 310 class—Principles of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is teaming up with the Healthy Community Coalition (HCC) this month to prepare a store tour called, “Cooking Matters,” at the local Hannaford where they will share tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle. A specific day has not been set for this tour, but HCC and Health 310 are planning to schedule a date within the next couple weeks.
Health 310 will be at the event giving out materials donated by the Good Shepherd food bank and SNAP-ED—nutrition education. The class will also be preparing and giving away food samples, and providing recipes on clean eating, and a guide for healthy grocery shopping.
“I think this is a very beneficial event to our community,” said HCC member Laura Quynn. “It is open to all adults who want to participate in the event and they will not just be getting information, but recipes, books to help them shop healthy, shopping bags and a ten-dollar gift card to purchase a healthy meal for their families.”
Courtney Jacques, a junior in Health 310 explained how the large class splits up to help the community in different ways. “One group recently participated in the Sandy River farms, another group is partaking in a coat drive and I am part of a group of five students working with the Cooking Matters organization to bring awareness to nutritional health,” stated Jacques.
Before helping the HCC with their Cooking Matters organization, Jacques didn’t quite know what to expect. “Previous to partaking in Cooking Matters, I thought it would be extremely difficult to teach nutrition to people in one to two hour increments,” said Jacques. However, Jacques views on health and nutrition have been changed significantly by her participation on the Cooking Matters team. “I am surprised at how well people catch on, and how smoothly the lesson plans and meetings go,” said Jacques. “It is amazing to see someone grasp how important it is to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle, and for them to apply it.”
Lorri Brown, Program Coordinator of HCC explains HCC’s goals for the community. “Our mission statement is to improve the well-being of all people in the greater Franklin County and neighboring towns by using a coordinated public health approach of education and outreach,” said Brown.
Funded through various federal and private grants, HCC also provides health and nutritional service to schools of all five districts of Franklin county—Mt. Blue, Spruce, Rangeley, Eustis, and Mt. Abram. “We do cooking and nutrition K-12, and the Carol M. White-Pep grant focuses on physical education in Mt. Abram and Mt. Blue, also in grades K-12,” said Brown.
HCC also has a mobile unit that is seasonally parked in the local Walmart parking lot which offers free blood pressure tests, and free health precaution resources such as drug and tobacco prevention. “It’s a really great place to connect with people,” said Brown.
According to Brown, HCC likes to go wherever the people are, and one place in particular is the community Blueberry Festival. “A favorite memory is being a carrot in the Blueberry Festival Parade,” confessed Brown.
Brown recalls the best part about being in the HCC. “The best part of working at HCC is working with lots of community members to make Greater Franklin County a great place to live,” said Brown. Quynn also enjoys working with community members and takes delight in being at a different location everyday. “The best part of working for HCC is that every day is different, one day I am in a school, the next at a senior housing site,” said Quynn.
HCC has been active since 1989 and is one of the oldest health coalitions in the country. Many HCC staff members are needed in order to exceed the mission statement that this organization holds. Quynn says about her job and the exceptional staff. “This job is a load of fun and I get to work with so many talented people,” said Quynn.