June 13, 2022
The Cambridge Public Health Department, through its Cambridge in Motion campaign, has awarded a total of $12,500 in mini-grants to 13 local organizations to develop activities that promote healthy eating and active living.
“We had a record number of applications this spring and it was inspiring to see so many programs seeking to make positive changes in healthy eating and physical activity in Cambridge,” said Dawn Olcott, manager of public health nutrition services for the Cambridge Public Health Department. The 2022 mini-grant awardees and their projects are:
- Cambridge Bike Give Back, which donates bikes to Cambridge residents that need them, will host community events in The Port, Alewife area, and Cambridgeside mall that will include free refurbished bike giveaways and a bike rodeo with skills training.
- Cambridge City Growers will support residents with low income in growing food at home by helping them build garden beds, providing seedlings, and holding weekly meetings to share knowledge.
- The Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC) will seek feedback from food pantry clients on their most desired food items through in-person and online surveys. Results will be shared with pantry managers so that they can adjust food orders and share recipes.
- The Community Arts Center will expand its children’s yoga therapy program to include strategies for coping with stress and trauma, including mind-body awareness.
- Equity Roadmap’s Friday Night Hype mentoring program will host a monthly community gathering for middle school children and their families, which will include a healthy meal. Children will engage in conversation and physical activity with a mentor.
- Haggerty Preschool will purchase gross motor skills equipment, such as tactile balls, balance boards, and scooters, that require whole body movement and improve children’s balance, muscle development, and coordination. This equipment will help children develop skills that they might not have an opportunity to learn at home.
- The Helping Hand Food Pantry’s Spice It Up project will purchase spices used in traditional cooking so that clients can make healthy dishes from their home countries.
- HRI, an affordable housing nonprofit, will run Adventure Kids, a series of free monthly outdoor activities for youth and families who live in HRI housing. Activities will include yoga, rock climbing, hiking, navigational skills, and scavenger hunts.
- Mass Farmers Markets will show SNAP recipients how to maximize benefits they have received from different agencies when shopping at local farmers markets. The team will recruit SNAP users to review a new guide for SNAP shoppers to make sure the content is clear and understandable.
- Newtowne School, a family cooperative preschool, will create a community-centered edible garden. Toddlers and preschoolers will help plant and harvest the garden, learn about healthy eating, and cook and share the food with the homeless community at First Church Cambridge.
- Prospect Hill Academy will work with a local gardening program and a multicultural cooking teacher to train elementary school teachers and children about nature, international foods, and healthy eating through pollinator woodland visits, gardening, and cooking with fresh healthy ingredients.
- Violetta Montessori School will cultivate budding gardeners by involving children and their families in growing vegetables for snacks in two established garden plots at Squirrel Brand garden. The mini-grant will fund garden tools and supplies, gardening books, and other items.
- YWCA Cambridge will give out healthy “to-go” bags to all Tanner Residence clients, as part of an outreach effort to connect the women’s shelter residents to services. The gift bags will include fresh food, information about low-cost grocery resources and health services, and coupons from the Daily Table.
Healthy eating and active living is one of the city’s three health priority areas. The other two priority areas are mental health and community/social resilience.
The 2022 mini-grants are funded by the Cambridge Public Health Department, with additional funding from the city’s Birth to Third Grade Partnership for the Violetta Montessori School grant. Cambridge in Motion mini-grant awards have been offered since 2012.
The mini-grant program is a partnership of the Cambridge Public Health Department, the Cambridge Food and Fitness Policy Council, and the City of Cambridge.
For more information, contact Dawn Olcott at the Cambridge Public Health Department, [email protected] or 617-665-3809