MLK Community Center Receives $25,000 Blue Cross Grant for Nutrition Education
BlueAngel Community Health Grant supports Center’s program expansion to serve more needy Newport residents
NEWPORT, RI (April 2, 2013) – The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, which has provided generations of Newporters with the tools and the knowledge to support their dreams, has received a $25,000 grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) to fund the expansion of its nutrition education services for at-risk and low-income children, adults, families and seniors in the Newport area.
The Center is among ten state organizations to receive funding as part of the BlueAngel Community Health Grant Program (BACHG), which supports nonprofit organizations expanding access to care for un- and under-insured Rhode Islanders. The grant is expected to benefit 1,300 of the Center’s clients by funding five new and expanded nutritional programs, from education for children and parents to healthy dinner service. Among these impacted clients, 44 percent of adults and 24 percent of children are expected to be uninsured.
“The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center is very grateful to Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island for funding the expansion of our nutrition education and counseling services, states Marilyn Warren, Executive Director of the MLK Community Center. “We believe that education breaks the cycle of poverty and nutrition education will help both children and adults have a greater chance of living healthy, fulfilling lives. Because of the BlueAngel grant, nutrition education and counseling will be available to all of our families. Many of our clients are referred by their physicians to a dietitian, but without insurance, nutrition counseling is a luxury few can afford. We are grateful to Blue Cross & Blue Shield to be able to provide the tools to help our families live healthier lives.”
“Through the BlueAngel program, we seek to fund and partner with community-based agencies trying to break down cultural, cost, and communication barriers to healthcare access,” said Carolyn Belisle, director of community relations for BCBSRI. “The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center’s motto of ‘food for the body and mind’ highlights the value of these educational programs to empower Newport County’s most vulnerable residents, from children to parents to the elderly, to make the healthy decisions that lead to healthier lives.”
In the Center’s 91st year of operation, as it expands many services to meet its clients’ needs, the BlueAngel grant will fund five key new and expanded programs:
Families using the Center’s Food Pantry will receive personal guidance from the on-staff dietician to explore reading nutrition labels, make healthy choices and discuss healthy cooking.
Demonstrations of healthy foods will model healthy eating using pantry foods and allow clients to try new recipes.
The afterschool program, Healthy Kids, Healthy Families, will increase from one day each week to two, incorporating trips to the local farmer’s market to learn how to choose and use fresh ingredients, assisting families with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) enrollment and offering personal counseling to a greater number of at-risk families.
The Center will increase the number of family dinners from monthly to bi-weekly, which encourage healthy, family-style meals.
New targeted nutrition education workshops will be offered specifically for parents.
The BACHG Program is the cornerstone of BCBSRI’s charitable giving. Since the Program’s inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated over $2.1 million dollars to support Rhode Island nonprofit organizations providing health programs aimed at expanding access to care for the thousands of un- and under-insured Rhode Islanders. Since the Program’s launch, more than 207,000 people in Rhode Island have been touched by funded programs.