Jenny began volunteering in the school and implementing wellness into the school environment when her youngest daughter started attending elementary school. She has organized numerous wellness activities, events, and programs in the school with the support of the principal and staff. She started the Healthy Pirates Committee on the PTO board that helped her continue to improve the school health scores and start the school Youth Wellness Council. She continues to facilitate youth wellness leaders and recruit parents in West Virginia schools. This lead to working with Try This WV and starting a community wellness council to “connect the dots of wellness” for her own community by creating the WV Parents Action for Wellness Network and website.
Barboursville Community Wellness Council/Barboursville Middle School
Healthy Concession Cart
Problem: Generally, food at school and community events is not healthy and mostly full of sugar or fried with high fat. The spectators at the events usually make several trips back and forth to visit the food options and sit sometimes for long periods of time without moving their bodies. Offering healthy and tasty options will help fuel student athletes, give spectators more options, and the physical activity will get spectators active and having fun during these events.
Project Description: Most food options at school or community concession stands are fried and loaded with sugar, sodium, and heavy on the fat. Kids and their parents usually make several trips back and forth in a two hour or more period and load up on these food items. We wanted to offer some healthier food choices that are fun for the eye and tasty for the belly!
How the project got started: Two middle school students and their adult advisor (a WV parent) who had been working in school wellness since elementary school had obstacles presented in front of them when they started to attend middle school. It was difficult for them to organize wellness projects to motivate and encourage their friends to make healthy choices. They observed that at school and community concessions there were little or no healthy food options given to the students and the attendees of the sports events. They decided after attending the Try This WV Conference in Buckhannon in 2016 that they would apply for a mini grant to build a healthy food cart. The parent created a nonprofit community wellness council along with 15 other community members including teachers, professionals, and students. Through the nonprofit, they raised additional funding and donations to build the cart as well as create a community garden that the cart would use as a resource for some of their produce on their healthy food cart. They added a smoothie bike that people peddle to make a smoothie and some small physical activity equipment to motivate people to get active at events and not sit for long periods of time. The total for the cart cost is $3500. It was built upon a utility trailer by parents. Volunteer hours for the construction of the cart were about 60 between 3 volunteers. The cart operates on a four-hour volunteer schedule for each event. The local senior center operates as their industrial prep kitchen. For complete step by step of what you need for a healthy concessions plan and cart: https://www.wvparents4wellness.com/healthy-concessions
5 steps to start this project:
- Contact the local health department to start a plan after deciding what type of cart you are going to operate and serve food.
- Distribute a survey to find out what parents and kids might purchase at the food cart. Give them a variety of sample options
- Find local banks and grocery stores that might make donations for the cart. Start your menu out small with only a couple or few items.
- Talk to your school county food service director, wellness coordinator, athletic director, and principal to get their support.
- Create a parent and student team to help build and operate the food cart together on a schedule so nobody gets burnt out.
What resources, videos, websites helped you put your project/strategy together?
For complete step by step of what you need for a healthy concessions plan and cart go here.
How have you engaged the following partners in your strategy?
…parents and grandparents? Church bulletin announcements & Coalition announcements
…students? Meeting them before sessions began to get them excited
…teachers and support staff? Phone conversations and faculty announcements
…principal/administrators? Phone conversations and face to face meetings
…business/labor/community partners? Newspaper article and Coalition buy-in