The Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County’s Steps Toward Health community event held Saturday, May 17, was enjoyed by over 50 individuals, including school children and their families. The event offered free blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol testing, information about nutrition, cancer and diabetes prevention, and local opportunities for exercise and healthy lifestyle. Pantry board members supplied a cornucopia of healthy, delicious snacks with recipes.
Prior to the event, children at Dirks Elementary were led in conversations about how to live a healthy life through wholesome, nutritious foods and exercise by art teacher Stessa Miles. The children were asked to create posters for the event that would be entered into a competition and displayed at the Food Pantry. The Poster Contest Grand Prize winner was second grader Wyatt Stevens, who won $50.00. Second place winners of $25.00 each were Paityn Escobedo (kindergarten), Joel Duarte (1st grade), Faith Farren (4th grade) and Ashley Martin (4th grade).
More than 35 adults and children opted for the free testing conducted by EMT Roberta Sherer, and Nurse Practitioners Rebecca Lewis and Allison Ainsworth. Roseland Klein represented High Desert Yoga; Lulu Lopez was there to talk about the benefits of Tai Chi; and Becky Wren informed guests about how meditation contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Other “experts” with information tables included Lynda George with an array of brochures and booklets about cancer prevention, and Joel Shearer offering his experience and knowledge as someone living with diabetes. Fort Davis Family Practice supplied many helpful brochures on many health related topics and Big Bend Regional Medical Center donated pedometers, so each guest could walk away counting the steps they take each day. Adding a special touch were Grand Companions volunteers Cayenne Webb and Nash Traylor and pups with the “Walk a Dog” program that offers people the opportunity to exercise by walking dogs for their organization.
The most popular destination at the event was the Jeff Davis County, Mountain Medics’ ambulance for all to explore and learn about. Leading the ambulance tours were EMTs Kathy Daigle and Patricia Grado.
Steps Toward Health is part of the Pantry’s Healthy Food, Healthy Lives program aimed at providing more fresh produce, healthy proteins, whole grains and dairy to its clients, especially for the children’s school lunch program that fills the gap created by the absence of cafeterias and free lunch programs in the county’s school districts. Partners in Healthy Food, Healthy Lives are the Carl E. and Florence B. King Foundation, Fasken Foundation, and The Abell-Hanger Foundation.
The Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides supplemental food with an emphasis on wholesome choices. It relies on private donation and grant contributions. For more information about the Food Pantry, eligibility for services, and the Healthy Food, Healthy Lives program, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.