To start a non-profit organization that will increase healthy food access, improve the built environment, and provide health education courses in rural South Carolina (i.e. Allendale, Bamberg, and Barnwell counties).
Hi were working to start a non-profit organization that is entitled Producing Outcomes of Wellness by Empowering Rural Communities (POWER). We are looking to increase healthy food access, improve built environment, and provide low-cost health education courses in Allendale, Bamberg, and Barnwell Counties in South Carolina. At a point in these counties were included in what was coined the “Corridor of Shame” because of the poor health outcomes. POWER wants to improve the health outcomes in this area.
Since I was young, I've always wanted to do everything I could to help individuals have access to foods. As grew older, I realized that it’s not just access to food that matters but access to healthy food. There are many people in underserved areas with low food access that accept help from groups that wish to provide them with food. These groups are giving their time to help people with low food access, but do not realize that while they are helping these people live another day so that they do not die of starvation, they may also be shortening these their lives, because majority of the foods that are distributed at food pantries are processed unhealthy foods that increase obesity and the risk of obesity-related chronic diseases. POWER would like to provide technical assistance to food pantries to create healthy food pantries and provide the community with more access to healthy foods though building school and community gardens and starting mobile markets that sell fresh fruits & vegetables and can reach people that live in food deserts or do not have transportation to get to grocery stores. Food access in rural communities an issue that is near and dear to my heart, because my parents grew up in rural Jamaica. I grew up listening to stories about only having one piece of bread and sugar water to split amongst 5 siblings. My parents also instilled in me that I should do all that I can to help those that are in need.
My wife shares the same passion to help others who live in underserved areas. Moreover, her passion is to serve rural communities. In addition to starting healthy food pantries and assisting pantries in this area, she works with rural communities to adopt and implement pedestrian planning to promote walkable communities. So that people will have more opportunities to be physically active.
Together we understand the importance of health education. The communities that we are looking to serve have a high prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. We want to provide these populations with low-cost health education courses so that these populations can live the best quality of life possible. With my expertise in nutrition and her expertise in public health, we are the perfect force to induce positive change in this community. Together we want to create a culture of health and empower our communities to make sustainable changes that will benefit them and everyone around them.
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