Chapel Hill, N.C. - The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation is partnering with the North Carolina Council of Churches to provide equipment for 20 faith-based organizations to bring healthier food to their members and communities. More than $90,000 in equipment grants is being used to provide canning and cooking supplies, expand church community gardens, and increase storage for fresh produce at a food pantry among other initiatives. The BCBSNC Foundation focused the 2013 Healthy Eating Equipment grants in 16 counties to help advance the Partners in Health and Wholeness Initiative, a North Carolina Council of Churches effort to create healthy and whole congregants by connecting them with quality health programs and resources in the community.
"The NC Council of Churches is a strong ally to empower North Carolinians to improve their overall health," said Kathy Higgins, president of the BCBSNC Foundation. "These healthy eating equipment grants are helping the Council bring access to healthy foods to congregations in North Carolina that have embraced health as part of their mission."
Grants of up to $5,000 were open to faith-based organizations in 16 counties that have initiatives to increase access to healthy food for their communities. One of the grant criteria was that the applicant had to participate in the Partners in Health and Wholeness Initiative certification program.
Some of the grants include:
- Old Zion Wesleyan Church Food Ministry in Columbus County will help increase access to quality, healthy food through a food pantry, community garden, and food preservation.
- Sacred Pathways in Robeson County will expand their food pantry for produce storage and increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables for needy families, children, and seniors in their community.
- St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Forsyth County will improve the nutritional health of children in their child care center by serving fresh fruits and vegetables, including some from the community garden.
- The Ward Street Mission in Guilford County will provide local, fresh food in a low-income neighborhood by building individual, home-based, raised-bed fruit and vegetable gardens, as well as cultivating and maintaining community gardens at the Ward Street Mission United Methodist Church.
- Laurinburg Presbyterian Church in Scotland County will increase their community garden outreach by adding three scholarship plots, increasing sustainable garden production with new bee hives, and unifying diverse stakeholders through their youth service learning program.
The 20 faith-based grantees are:
- Church of God of Prophecy Bible Place - Anson County
- Greater St. Matthews - Anson County
- Pathway To Peace Ministries - Anson County
- Old Zion Wesleyan Church - Columbus County
- Mount Zion A.M.E. Zion Church - Cumberland County
- St. Anne's Episcopal Church - Forsyth County
- United Metropolitan Baptist Church - Forsyth County
- Fairmont Park Baptist Church - Guilford County
- Prince of Peace Lutheran Church - Guilford County
- Shalom Community Christian Church Disciples of Christ - Guilford County
- St. James Baptist Church - Guilford County
- Starmount Presbyterian Church - Guilford County
- Ward Street Mission - Guilford County
- Faith Community Christian Center - Robeson County
- First Baptist Church - Robeson County
- Sacred Pathways Inc - Robeson County
- The Third Day Community Garden - First Baptist Church Mayodan - Rockingham County
- Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church - Scotland County
- Laurinburg Presbyterian Church - Scotland County
- Piney Grove Baptist Church - Surry County
About BCBSNC Foundation:
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a separate, independent, nonprofit Foundation dedicated to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The Foundation's focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations - improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations; Healthy Active Communities - increasing physical activity and access to healthy local foods; and Community Impact through Nonprofit Excellence - increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations and their leaders. BCBSNC Foundation invests in programs and services in response to grant requests and proactively creates initiatives or partners with organizations to address specific needs. It also coordinates several Signature Programs, among them, Be Active Kids® and Healthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence. More information is available at www.bcbsncfoundation.org. Since its founding in 2000, the BCBSNC Foundation has invested nearly $89 million into North Carolina communities through more than 650 grants.
About the North Carolina Council of Churches:
Founded in 1935, the North Carolina Council of Churches is a statewide organization representing 18 Christian denominations and committed to the twin goals of ecumenism and social justice. More than 1.5 million North Carolinians are members of congregations under the Council's umbrella. The Council's faith-based health initiative, Partners in Health and Wholeness, is designed to promote health as a faith issue and to improve the health of clergy and congregants through increased physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco use prevention and cessation. To learn more about Partners in Health and Wholeness, please visit www.healthandwholeness.org. More information about the North Carolina Council of Churches is available at www.ncchurches.org.
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