by Marjorie Freedman
Dr. Marjorie Freedman’s winning 3-minute video won her a trip to the White House! The video describes the collaborative effort between San Jose State University (SJSU) and Most Holy Trinity Church (MHT) to fight childhood obesity in a low-income population comprised primarily of ethnic minorities (Vietnamese, Filipino, Hispanic and Samoan) living in East San Jose.
Freedman describes how she joined with parishioners (including Chris Rodriguez, RN, Health Minister) to create the MHT Food Justice Ministry, which worked to promote Let’s Move! key messages. With respect to healthy eating, teens participated in “Cooking Matters” and “Rethink Your Drink Classes.” Nutrition education materials included weekly bulletin columns in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, distribution of hundreds of bilingual children’s books promoting drinking water, and over 1000 Healthy Fresh Food Access Guides. The video highlighted the development and adoption of a healthy food and beverage policy. It described how MHT Food Justice partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank and Catholic Charities to promote CalFresh (SNAP or Food Stamp) benefits and how “double up bucks” programs enabled CalFresh participants to use their EBT card at local famers’ markets and the Farmstand at nearby Veggielution Community Farm. Finally, the video highlighted how MHT youth are incorporating physical activity into their routines. Filipino dance groups, Vietnamese Lion dancers, and the MHT Samoan Youth are shown practicing fun ways to “Move” while preserving their cultural identity.
Dr. Freedman would like to acknowledge the hard work and enthusiasm of SJSU students, MHT parishioners, and the strong support of collaborative partners (e.g., SCC Public Health Department, Social Services Agency, Three Squares, Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, First 5 SCC, Second Harvest Food Bank, Catholic Charities, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Veggielution Community Farm) who all helped to make this program a success. Support for the program came from a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, administered by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
MHT Food Justice is ongoing, and Dr. Freedman welcomes inquires from faculty, staff and students. For more information please contact her at Marjorie.firstname.lastname@example.org.