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Food Pantry Thinks Outside the Box to Bring Healthy Food to Latinos in Need



Providing a week’s worth of healthy food and toiletries to families in need is the goal of Jessie Fisher and her nonprofit food pantry, the Randolph Area Christian Assistance Program (RACAP), in Schertz, Texas (29.3% Latino). But when food demand grew faster than the supply, Fischer and RACAP had to think quickly. They set up partnerships to gather leftover food from restaurants and grocers, pick up unwanted fruit from residents’ yards, and receive meat donations from hunters. They also launched food drives that yielded thousands of pounds of healthy food for Latino and other families during high-demand summer times. Food Insecurity in Schertz Schertz, Texas (29.3% Latino population) is a fast-rising, increasingly Latino (18.1% in 2000 and 26.6% in 2014) community just north ...

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Community Connectors Break Down Barriers to Healthy Homes



San Antonio’s Eastside Promise Neighborhood (EPN) is a community of about 18,000 residents (67.5% Latino) who face many health disparities driven by socioeconomic inequities in income, education and access to health care. Noemi Villarreal and others at EPN sought ways to improve health care and health equity in the area. To do that, they looked for ways to promote the idea of the “medical home,” in which the patient/family is the center of partnerships with primary care providers, specialists, educational resources, and the entire community. They formed a group of dedicated "Community Connectors" to travel the neighborhood and do whatever was necessary to promote development of a medical home for every home. Addressing issues in San Antonio Noemi Villarreal, health ...

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Parks Workers Create ‘Health’ Scavenger Hunt in San Antonio



City parks worker Michael Baldwin saw rampant physical inactivity and disease in San Antonio, Texas (68% Latino). To help, he wanted to attract people to existing health programs and services in city parks. Baldwin and his team, through local collaborations, developed Fit Pass, a city-wide scavenger hunt for wellness and physical activities. People can download a phone app or a bilingual Fit Pass passport that can be stamped for attending some of 2,300 activities across San Antonio parks, incentivizing Latino families to get physically active and play in parks. Physical Inactivity in San Antonio Michael Baldwin, special projects manager with the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department (Parks Department) in San Antonio, Texas, has helped develop and implement ...

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Local RDN’s Promote Nutrition Through Popular Magazine



Many people have a favorite magazine that they enjoy reading, whether it is the latest celebrity news, world affairs, or sports stories; but what if there was a magazine that also offered nutritional advice, supplied healthy recipes, and disseminated the latest health information all in a way you could understand? That’s exactly what registered dietitians and a local magazine in Phoenix, Ariz., joined forces to do to reach their community. EMERGENCE Awareness: In summer 2014, Maria Silva worked as a registered dietitian within St. Vincent de Paul’s Family Wellness Program in Phoenix. The Family Wellness Program, begun in 1999, aims to boost the health of local Latino families, from a provision of medical and dental care to healthy lifestyle services for healthy eating, making ...

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Community Health Centers Engage Latinos in Mental Health, Nutrition, Fitness



Many Latinos in Minnesota get “left out,” of the healthcare picture. That’s why HealthFinders Collaborative aims to provider healthcare and services to marginalized families in Rice county, nearly 50 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But HealthFinders leaders like Charlie Mandile continued to identify gaps in local healthcare. Mandile and his team came up with a solution a few years ago: the Pura Vida Healthy Lifestyles Program, an effort to bring free preventive health and fitness classes to the local rapidly growing Latino population. How has the effort paid off? Gaps in Latino health in Minnesota HealthFinders Collaborative, community health centers in Northfield, Minn. (8% Latino population), and Faribault, Minn. (11.74% Latino population) formed to ...

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Health Worker Starts Free Fitness in the Park



Pete Garcia spent several years as a personal trainer in San Antonio, learning first-hand that many residents in at-risk parts of the city struggled with obesity and related health problems. So when Garcia became the city’s supervisor of athletics and programs, he wanted to develop and implement programs that would increase access to physical activity opportunities for at-risk residents across the city.\ With grant funding and the city’s formation of the Mayor’s Fitness Council a few years ago, Garcia was able to capitalize on partnerships and collaboration to develop the “Fitness in the Park” program to provide free fitness classes in parks in each of the city’s 10 council districts. San Antonio Inactive and Unhealthy Pete Garcia worked for many years as a ...

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Local Nurse Provides Healthy School Snack Workshops



Registered nurse Derek Dimas learned kids need to eat healthier to help decrease the high rates of obesity in his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas (50.7 % Latino). By starting a program to help kids see fruits and vegetables as delicious works of art, students in schools across the city are having fun learning how to create and enjoy healthier snacks. EMERGENCE Awareness: In spring 2014, Derek Dimas, a nursing student at the time, was certain he wanted to make a huge impact on the overall health of his community of Corpus Christi in Nueces County. While taking an epidemiology class, Dimas reviewed data and learned that the city had record-high levels of obesity, hypertension, and heart disease. About 42% of local Latinos and blacks are overweight or obese, he said. “For some ...

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Neighbors and Leaders Calm Traffic on Scary Street



Neighborhood leaders and residents like Paul D. López and Fany Mendez in the Denver, Colo., neighborhood of Westwood worked together with local organizations to tackle safety concerns on Morrison Road, an arterial street that bisected their neighborhood. In addition to safety issues, they were also concerned about health, because kids can’t play and people can’t walk on busy, unsafe streets. Their efforts led to a pedestrian-activated traffic light, traffic calming features, medians, and aesthetically-pleasing infrastructure and landscaping to make the road more accessible to all. Unsafe Street Scares Kids and Families Paul D. López, the District 3 City Councilmember in Denver, Colo. (31.8% Latino), grew up a few blocks from his current office on Morrison Road, a busy main ...

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Fitness Instructor Helps Launch La Casita Fitness and Learning Center



Westwood Unidos and Re:Vision, two local organizations in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver, Colo. (31.2% Latino population) were already working to make the area a healthier place for families. Westwood Unidos organized local community members, like Fany Mendez, to teach fitness classes in their spare time wherever they could, such as schools, churches, and even bars. When Westwood Unidos learned about a small building that was going to be torn down on a piece of land recently purchased by Re:Vision, Westwood Unidos raised the money to transform the building into a community center named La Casita, with educational and physical activity classes taught by Mendez and local community members. Westwood Families Not Active Enough Fany Mendez, before she became the Coordinator of La Casita ...

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