Planning Council applies for grant to teach healthy eating

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, February 6, 2013


NORFOLK—Marissa Spady looks forward to continuing to teach children and childcare providers in Western Tidewater to eat healthier.

Renewed funding for the program will make it possible.

“We are hoping to get a second round of funding as we begin to reapply over the next few weeks,” said Spady, project coordinator with The Planning Council in Norfolk, a nonprofit that serves Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.

“We’ve learned a lot during our original grant process, and all of that will help us in reapplying,” Spady said.

The council’s Healthy Kids for Healthy Futures received $85,159 from the Obici Healthcare Foundation in 2012.

The program is held in conjunction with Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater to help childcare providers establish better eating habits.

“I think it’s great that they are working on different grants that will help people face the problem of nutrition and obesity that we are facing in our area as well across the region,” said Ellen Couch, executive director for Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater.

Through the Commission’s Voluntary Registration Program for Family Day Homes Elected, children’s heights and weights were taken to give a better understanding of the health of each child in the voluntary program.

“I hope people are learning and take this back to their children,” Spady said.

With the aid of Virginia Cooperative Extension, the council offers Saturday programs to teach childcare providers nutritional lessons, working with cookbooks and yoga.

“What is really cool that the yoga positions are very simple and have animal names to help the kids remember,” she said.

“Shopping Matters,” a program instituted through grant funding, provides nutrition and wellness training to childcare centers with tours of Farm Fresh. Participants go around the grocery store to learn how to eat healthy on a budget.

“We know it’s hard to eat healthy, especially on a budget,” Spady said. “This program is beneficial not only on the participants but their pocketbooks as well.”

At the conclusion, participants receive $10 gift cards to buy one item from each food group.

“It has been nice for me to help give back to areas where I grew up,” said the 29-year-old Windsor native.

“It has also made things easier working in the area because I was so familiar with it.”

For more information, call Spady at 757-622-9268, ext. 3032.