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Healthy Peninsula is the April ‘Change for Good’ recipient at the Blue Hill Food Co-op

This year is Healthy Peninsula’s 20th Anniversary and we’re happy to count the Blue Hill Food Co-op as one of our partners in serving our communities with healthy fresh food. Although the Magic Food Bus is the most visible of our programs, Healthy Peninsula has three Initiatives that reach people of all ages and connect them with resources in our communities.

The cornerstone of our Healthy Eating initiative is not truly a “bus,” but a dedicated group of volunteers led by Healthy Peninsula, who increase awareness about food-security issues, coordinate vegetables from local farms and community gardeners, raise funds, and drive their own “buses” (personal vehicles) to individual stops, each week of the growing season, in the nine towns of the Blue Hill and Island Peninsulas. When many patrons could not visit the Magic Food Bus in person due to COVID restrictions, our volunteers delivered produce directly to their homes.

In March 2020, the pandemic forced the Simmering Pot to stop offering in-person Monday evening meals at the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill. For the past year, Healthy Peninsula staff have coordinated over 40 volunteers and 7 local certified kitchens, including Max Mattes in the Co-op Café, to facilitate the preparation and distribution of over 3,725 quarts of homemade soup and 7,450 slices of fresh homemade bread for anyone sheltering-at-home or needing home delivery service.

Our Healthy Aging Initiative brims with collaborations—Age Friendly Coastal Communities, Choices That Matter, Community Paramedicine Project, Successful Aging Creative Circle Project, Blue Hill Age-Friendly Playground. But when the pandemic hit, our staff and volunteers jumped into action, providing emergency grocery shopping, food pantry pick-up, and prescription delivery for at-risk people sheltering in place. They also coordinated volunteer check-in calls to older community members, and mailed resource postcards to community members age 75+ so they would know where to turn if they needed support.

Healthy Families volunteers have been connecting early childhood educators and service providers for the past 8 years, helping to raise awareness of the importance of early education and care in our communities. Recent grant funding has allowed us to partner with a broad coalition to provide new services for families of young children—resource libraries at Healthy Peninsula and elementary schools, a widely distributed bi-monthly family activities and resource Newsletter, a network for childcare providers, and a new Community Education Campaign.

Healthy Peninsula is a Blue Hill based non-profit community health organization—community inspired, partner driven, improving health and well-being. We look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary with COVID-safe events and activities in 2021 that will bring together our partners, volunteers, and community members of all ages. Thanks to the Co-op and shoppers for supporting our work through the register drive this April!

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