Mississippi-based non-profit organization Delta Health Alliance and Monsanto, a publicly traded multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation, are putting together a joint effort to address obesity issues and enhance the health of Delta residents in Bolivar and Washington counties. Monsanto will be granting Delta Health Alliance $500,000 to conduct a comprehensive physical education program for children, promote better access to farmers markets, community gardens and nutritious food, and expand the Imagination Library program.
“Monsanto passionately supports rural communities and the communities where our customers and employees live and work. As a company positioned at the beginning of the food chain, we seek to collaborate with local organizations to make sure everyone has access to an affordable, balanced meal,” said Mike Frank, Monsanto’s Vice President of Global Commercial, at the July 6 check presentation. “Delta Health Alliance proposed an approach that focuses on providing more nutritious food offerings and teaching children how to live a healthier life. We are pleased to partner with them and help fund this robust program.”
One of the biggest aspects of the Delta Health Alliance plan will include 5 elementary and middle schools in Washington County and Bolivar County. The students will be participating in the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) Kids Club to engage in after-school activities that promote better health such as physical activity and nutrition education. Delta Health will also be coordinating with the schools’ administrators to boost the amount of physical activity their students undertake each day.
“We recognize the need to create greater access to nutritious food,” said Marlin Womack, Delta Health Alliance CFO. “The Monsanto grant will enable us to partner with grassroots organizations and faith-based groups to expand farmers markets and community gardens as well as provide students with nutritious food offerings on the weekends. For example, our proposal calls for establishing community gardens next to day care centers and schools.”
The $500,000 grant will also be dedicated to bringing the Delta Health Alliance Imagination Library program to the Washington and Bolivar counties, which will provide children aged 0 to 5 a complimentary book every month. Childcare centers across these counties will work with these children to improve their reading comprehension, all while providing healthy snacks. Womack adds, “Kindergarten readiness tests in pre-reading and pre-math show that children enrolled in Imagination Library are more than twice as prepared to enter kindergarten as students not enrolled in the program.”
“The health of the people in the communities where Monsanto operates is imperative; they are our employees, their families and our neighbors. We invest in community health and safety initiatives on a global scale,” said Frank.
If you wish to know more about Delta Health Alliance and its charitable programs, visit www.deltahealthalliance.org.