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  • Last modified 239 days ago (Feb. 22, 2017)

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$15K could net $65K more for community health project

Residents in the southern part of the county could soon be living healthier lifestyles thanks to a group of concerned citizens and up to a $15,000 foundation planning grant.

Southern Marion County Healthy Partnerships was formed to spearhead the development of a Healthy Eating: Rural Opportunities (HERO) project covering both Peabody and Burns. The group will receive up to $15,000 from Sunflower Foundation to assist in developing the proposal.

“We know that access to a full range of nutritious foods is critical for the health of growing children and families,” foundation president Billie Hall said. “Yet more and more Kansas communities are losing ready access to nutritious foods.”

Susan Marshall, part of the Southern Marion County group, said the process will start with an extended day planning event in April for 40 to 70 community representatives.

“It’s all about trying to accumulate information and data to identify what your community would like to have in the way of healthy lifestyles eating options,” Marshall said.

More information will be solicited through a mail survey.

The planning grant pays for the event and survey, as well as any additional expenses in the development of a plan, such as consultants and meeting facilitators, and a community may not need the full $15,000, Marshall said.

Peabody and Burns were selected to mirror the school district, which has high numbers of students on free and reduced-price meals, Marshall said. A plan will have to encompass children and families in both communities.

“Obviously, kids are a big part of all of this,” Marshall said. “What they initially want you to concentrate on is healthy food.”

Provided the plan is sound, Southern Marion County Healthy Partnerships could receive up to an additional $65,000 to implement it, but the process is competitive and some communities may not qualify.

Marshall said potential participants for the April meeting are being contacted, and additional information will be available as the date grows closer.

Peabody Main Street is a supporting partner in the endeavor.

Last modified Feb. 22, 2017

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