Early in September, Wellmark announced an opportunity for non-profit health and nutrition programs to receive a $10,000 grant to further develop and support ongoing education within their communities. With the recent history and successful growth of the Clarke Food Nutrition Program (FNP), a campaign was developed to get local and regional support for the grant opportunity to be awarded to FNP. Through an informational video and micro Web site outlining the the Clarke Food Nutrition Program, the City is hoping to gather as many votes in support of the continuation and growth of FNP.
The Food and Nutrition Program began in the Murray school district in the 2004-2005 term. Clarke Elementary did not become eligible until the 2009-2010 school year. The requirement for this program at the time was that 60% of the students must be receiving free and reduced lunches.
From 2009 to 2012 the costs were being shared between Iowa State University and Clarke County Extension. Beginning the school year 2013-2014 Clarke County Extension covered the entire cost of FNP. The full program is currently being funded by Clarke County Extension.
Molly Crawford, Program Director for FNP assumed duties in the fall of 2014 and has seen exciting growth and interest in the the program, but emphasizes the need for additional funding to support the curriculum and reach those that need it most.
“It’s surprising how little the kids know about nutrition and the value of physical activity in your overall health,” Molly states in the informational video, “Not only when you’re a kid, but how it affects you into the future.”
As coordinator, Crawford – known to her students as “Mrs. Nutrition,” – visits the students 6 times a year and helps educate and develop a better understanding of nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Whether it’s introducing new foods to the kids’ diets or showing the affects of a fast food-heavy diet, the students continue to be engaged.
“Ive had parents come to me in the store talking about their children asking about new foods – things they’d never heard of – and it really shows the impact the program has on the entire family.” Crawford said.
Last year the FNP program reached 959 youth in grades K-6. Last year the program cost roughly $6,100. This Wellmark grant would go to cover those costs for the year as well as help expand the program.
Clarke County Extension finds this program to be a very valuable asset to our community and we want to continue making that positive connection with our youth.
To help, all you need to do is vote (daily if possible) for the program at the Wellmark grant application site. The link can be found at www.ClarkeFamilyNutrition.com along with details on FNP and the grant process.
For more information, you can contact ISU Extension Office at 641-342-3316.
To place your vote for the Clarke Food Nutrition Program now, click the button below!