Planting Seeds of Hope and Whole Health in Our Communities

Planting Seeds of Hope and Whole Health in Our Communities
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What is hummus?

You might think this is a silly question. But the answer illustrates an important story of health disparities. And of an organization dedicated to breaking down these barriers to bring whole health to those who need it most. This is AdventHealth.

Inside the Boys & Girls Club of Volusia and Flagler County Lacey Family/Spring Hill Club in DeLand, a generally underserved community, there were children who were not only unaware of what hummus was; they didn’t know what healthy food was, nor did they have access to it. It was symbolic of a social and socioeconomic divide between those who have access to health education and healthy food from those who don’t in a community.

But this didn’t have to be. There was hope for something better.

Partnering for a Healthier Community

Both the Boys & Girls Club of DeLand’s champion Althea— a 20-year veteran of the organization and DeLand community— and AdventHealth wanted more for these children. They shared a similar belief that every child should have an equal opportunity to live their best life in whole health, no matter where they live or their life circumstances.

So a collaborative partnership was born with the core goal to better the health of these children and the DeLand community by instilling AdventHealth’s whole-person care philosophy of CREATION Life within the local Boys & Girls Club children.

With the help of Althea who championed the program from within, AdventHealth hospital volunteers launched a series of lessons and coordinated weekly activities inspired by a CREATION Life pillar: Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook and Nutrition.

Creating a Program for Change

For “Nutrition,” the children had an opportunity to learn about and plant healthy fruits and vegetables in garden boxes that they would continue to nurture. Then, they were guided in a cooking exercise to cook a healthy meal inspired by the organic foods they were growing. They may have learned about, prepared and ate hummus, but deep down (and to the community), that meant so much more.

Where kids used to resort to standing at the nearest gas station to ask strangers for money to buy food, they now had access to healthy nutrition that would fuel their bodies and nourish their spirits, too. The seeds they planted inspired hope.

In addition to education and sourcing healthy food, the program supported giving backpacks full of healthy food to the children on Fridays from donations collected at local AdventHealth hospital food drives so the kids could bring healthful food home to eat over the weekend. Now, entire families were supported with access to improved nutrition. And those seeds of hope were now flourishing into community change for the better.

A Bright (and Healthier) Future

The lessons lead by the AdventHealth hospital volunteers continue to grow and include education around the other CREATION Life pillars that have had equally impactful results. And today, we’re one step closer to closing a health disparity with greater access to whole-person care for all.

Where there once was a hungry belly in need, there’s now a smiling little face that now knows what organically grown, healthy food looks like. More importantly, these children have gained confidence that they have a partner by their side to grow healthy and strong. This is what feeling whole looks like. And it’s what AdventHealth is striving to create for you and your communities each and every day.

Learn more about your local AdventHealth Community Benefit programs.

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