Help package 200,000 healthy meals for neighbors in need

On Saturday, June 1, community members from across the Allina Health service area are invited to join Allina Health employee volunteers to package 200,000 healthy meals for neighbors in need. This event promotes healthy eating on a budget and the 2013 grant application process for Neighborhood Health Connection.

The family-friendly meal packing events will be held at 40 Allina Health locations, from 9 until 11 a.m. on June 1 including Allina Medical Clinic — Champlin, 11269 Jefferson Highway, Champlin.

Events will also be held at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids as well as at the Allina Medical Clinics in Blain, Coon Rapids, Elk River and Ramsey.

The first 50 community members to participate at each site will receive a free t-shirt.

“Our healthy meals event is especially timely as food shelves experience higher demand because kids are out of school and people make fewer donations in the summer,” Dr. Scott Flaata, internal medicine physician at Allina Medical Clinic – Edina. “The meal packs assembled by volunteers will not only fill an increased need for food donations, they also provide healthy meal options which are sometimes scarce at food shelves.”

The meals will be donated to more than 75 community organizations, including food shelves, shelters, schools and religious organizations, throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Allina Health has purchased more than a quarter million pounds of food for the project. Each meal pack assembled by volunteers will include cans of black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chicken and a bag of brown rice—enough to feed four.

Apply for a Neighborhood Health Connection™ grant to fund your group’s healthy activity

This June 1 event kicks off the 2013 Neighborhood Health Connection™ grant program. Allina Health will award grants to groups or organizations who submit ideas for bringing people together to do healthy activities. The purpose of the Healthy Activity Grants is to support group activities that promote social connections and increase healthy behaviors (healthy eating, active living).

“Research shows that social connectedness is an important determinant of health; people are more likely to engage in and maintain healthy behaviors when done with others,” said Dr. Flaata.  “Whether it’s volunteering at events like this, starting a walking group, or planting a community garden, people can take small, simple steps to a healthier life — just by doing something with their neighbors or community groups.”

Online applications will be accepted now through June 14. Winners will be announced via email on July 10.