(January 8, 2013 Marietta, OH) – Marietta Memorial Hospital, Peoples Bank and Marietta College have partnered to create a community-based, collaborative plan to raise awareness and help eliminate hunger in our region. The partnership will bring resources and support to our community as we strive to collaborate with agencies and organizations to lessen and end hunger in our county.
The first action taken by the group is to fund and implement a pilot program for second graders in Marietta City Schools. The program, Food Is Elementary, is a national, evidence-based program developed by Dr. Antonia Demas of the Food Studies Institute to teach children basic nutrition and cooking skills. It teaches the USDA MyPlate model, but focuses on teaching kids about the foods they don’t get enough of: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Food is Elementary is fun, interactive, and educational. Kids learn measuring, food preparation, and knife skills.
“When kids play an active role in preparation, they are more willing to try new, healthy foods” says Michelle Corrigan of Live Healthy Appalachia. Live Healthy Appalachia, a non-profit based in Athens, Ohio, has been teaching the Food is Elementary program for two years and is now assisting Marietta with implementation.
“Peoples Bank is pleased to be part of this important project,” says Chuck Sulerzyski, President & CEO of Peoples Bank, “We are committed to using our resources to improve the quality of life in our communities. This partnership and the Food Is Elementary program is one way to improve the health of our children.”
The Food Is Elementary program will start the week of January 14 in ten second grade classrooms and take place over a 12 week period. Ten Marietta College students have been trained as Food Educators and will assist educators in implementing the program with students. Sam Thomas, a Marietta College student, has been hired to coordinate the program which includes purchasing and organizing food and other supplies, managing volunteers, communicating with the schools and teachers, and evaluating the program. If the pilot is successful, the group hopes to expand and offer to classrooms throughout the county.
Dr. Joseph Bruno, Marietta College President, agrees. “Marietta College is happy to support this important initiative in our community. “The ability to provide students teaching and leadership learning activities outside of the classroom and care for neighbors is a win-win situation.”
Hunger among our youngest Ohioans is growing and will dramatically affect already-rising health care costs, educational achievement, future worker productivity and the ability of our State and nation to compete in the global economy. According to Ohio Food Banks, 731,040 of Ohio children struggle with food insecurity.
“We are at a crossroads in the United States where hunger exists side-by-side with a national obesity epidemic, especially among children,” says Memorial Health System president & CEO Scott Cantley. “There has never been a greater need to help individuals and families learn about accessing and choosing healthful food options. As the community based health system in our region, we know our role in providing resources and change is important. Studies show that children who eat well learn at a higher level.”
“I am really excited to start the Food is Elementary Program at Phillips,” says Katie Starr, a teacher at Phillips Elementary in Marietta. “Over the past two summers I have worked for AmeriCorps with their Summer Food Program and I have seen first-hand how important understanding good health can be for our community. The best way to teach the children in our community to be healthy is to start from a young age. These are lessons and information that can help them become healthy for the rest of their lives. All of our students are excited and I can't wait to see what they learn over the next couple of months.”
Hunger & Health Data
The Memorial Health System: The Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system governed by a volunteer board of community members that are committed to providing comprehensive services that meet the needs of our region. We are comprised of a network of two hospitals, outpatient service sites, assisted and long-term care facilities and a retirement community. We work in innovative ways to meet the healthcare challenges of today, while preparing for health needs of our communities in the future. You can learn more by visiting www.memorialhealthlink.org.
Peoples Bank: Peoples Bancorp Inc. is a diversified financial services holding company with $1.9 billion in total assets, 47 locations and 43 ATMs in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Peoples makes available a complete line of banking, investment, insurance and trust solutions through its subsidiaries - Peoples Bank, National Association and Peoples Insurance Agency, LLC. Peoples' common shares are traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market® under the symbol "PEBO", and Peoples is a member of the Russell 3000 index of US publicly-traded companies. Learn more about Peoples at www.peoplesbancorp.com.
Marietta College: Located in Marietta, Ohio, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers, Marietta College is a four-year liberal arts college. Tracing its roots to the Muskingum Academy begun in 1797, the College was officially chartered in 1835. Today Marietta College serves a body of 1,430 full-time students. The College offers 44 majors and has been listed among Barron’s Best Buys in College Education and Peterson’s Competitive Colleges, and has been recognized as one of the top regional comprehensive colleges by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, as well as one of the nation’s best by Forbes.com.
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