Cambridge Department of Health has awarded mini-grants totaling $12,500 to 13 local organizations as part of its Cambridge in Motion campaign 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 aimed at making positive change in healthy eating and physical activity in Cambridge,” said Dawn Olcott, manager of public nutrition services for the Cambridge Public Health Service.
The 2022 Mini-Grant awardees and their projects are:
- Return Cambridge bikewhich donates bikes to Cambridge residents who need them, will host community events in The Port, the Alewife area and Cambridgeside Shopping Center which will include free giveaways for refurbished bikes and a bike rodeo with skills training.
- Cambridge City breeder will support low-income residents to grow food at home by helping them build garden beds, providing seedlings and holding weekly knowledge-sharing meetings.
- The Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC) will collect feedback from Food Pantry customers on their most desired foods through in-person and online surveys. Results are shared with pantry managers so they can adjust meal orders and share recipes.
- The cultural center of the community will expand its yoga therapy program for children 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 kids and their families that will include a healthy meal. Children will engage in conversation and physical activity with a mentor.
- Haggerty Preschool will purchase gross motor equipment such as tactile balls, balance boards, and scooters that require full-body movement and improve children’s balance, muscle development, and coordination. This equipment will help kids develop skills they may not be able to learn at home.
- The Helping Hand Food Pantry’s Spice It Up project will buy spices used in traditional cuisine so customers can prepare healthy dishes from their home countries.
- HRI, a non-profit affordable housing organization, runs Adventure Kids, a series of free monthly outdoor activities for youth and families living in HRI shelters. Activities include yoga, rock climbing, hiking, navigation skills, and scavenger hunts.
- Farmers’ mass markets will show SNAP recipients how to maximize the benefits they’ve received from various agencies when shopping at local farmers’ markets. The team will recruit SNAP users to review a new SNAP Buyer’s Guide to ensure the content is clear and understandable.
- Newtowne school, a cooperative family preschool, will create a community-centric edible garden. Toddlers and preschoolers help plant and harvest the garden, learn about healthy eating, and cook and share 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 educate primary school teachers and children about nature, international food and healthy eating through visits to pollinator forests, gardening and cooking with fresh, wholesome 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 the Squirrel Brand Garden. The mini-grant will fund gardening tools and supplies, gardening books, and other items.
- YWCA Cambridge will be distributing healthy to-go bags to all Tanner Residence customers as part of a public relations effort to connect residents of the shelter to services. The gift bags contain fresh groceries, information on inexpensive groceries and health services, and coupons from the Daily Table.
Healthy eating and active living is one of the city’s three priority health areas. The other two priority areas are mental health and community/social resilience.
The 2022 Mini-Scholarships are being funded by the Cambridge Public Health Department, with additional funding from the City’s Birth to Third Grade Partnership for the Violetta Montessori School Scholarship. Cambridge in Motion Mini-Grant Awards have been offered since 2012.
The Mini Grant Scheme is a partnership between 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, firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-665-3809.