The YMCA's youth centre in Bridgewater is highlighting healthy eating and lifestyles, while combating food insecurity, with $10,000 in financial aid it received from a community health board.
The program involves building meal kits, using groceries to create breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, along with a "pantry staples box," a recipe book, and access to instructional cooking videos.
Access to, and affordability of, quality nutritious food became more challenging during the pandemic, said Kim Whitman-Mansfield, the local YMCA's youth coordinator.
The charity is partnering with other agencies to establish a short-term family meal kit delivery service.
"The best way to teach children and youth about eating right is to get them into the kitchen to prepare healthy meals together," Whitman-Mansfield told LighthouseNOW in an email.
"Cooking is a valuable life skill that teaches young people about nutrition and food safety; social skills like, cooperation, working together, problem solving, sharing; as well as building math, science, literacy and fine motor skills. Cooking together can be a fun way to teach your child valuable skills, promote good nutrition and make long-lasting memories in the process."
An emphasis on healthy and active lifestyles were behind a $2,555 community health board grant awarded to the Mahone Bay Centre Society.
The society is providing more indoor and outdoor opportunities for play at the former school house property, in addition to more equipment geared toward physical activity.
"It's important for people to have options, and to have options free of charge," Lynn Hennigar, the society's board chairwoman, told LighthouseNOW during a phone chat.
"Everyone is struggling these days, and whatever role we can play for energy, and mental health, and community outreach, and togetherness, is something we feel is really important."
Western Nova Scotia community health boards, such as those in Lunenburg County and Queens County, announced grant funding March 15 to multiple non-profits working on projects to bolster wellness. Many of the success programs funded were ones that put a special emphasis on helping mitigate COVID-19 pandemic impacts.
Lisa Pomfrey-Talbot, the Lunenburg County community health board coordinator, underscored the Family Service Association of Western Nova Scotia as an example. The Bridgewater-based anti-poverty charity received $9,943 toward a housing support program.
"COVID-19 made it very clear housing was a huge issue, and impacted the spread of [the virus]," she told LighthouseNOW during a phone call. "Ensuring we have safe places, and an access point for people who require housing, is important so those individuals can be supported."
The Lunenburg County-based environmental stewardship charity Coastal Action received $10,000 toward an after-school program for girls between 10- and 13-years-of-age.
Autism Nova Scotia ($9,500), Region of Queens Municipality ($4,040), Chester-based Musical Friends ($4,000), and the Lunenburg Day Care Centre ($3,669) received health board funding.
Queens County Transit ($2,084), Acadia First Nation Health Department ($1,922), and Bridgewater's LC Judo Club ($1,695) also secured program grants.