Patterson Highlights Health Division’s Local Pontiac Coalition

In honor of National Public Health Week, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is highlighting Oakland County Health Division’s (OCHD) Healthy Pontiac, We Can (HPWC) coalition for its extensive efforts in improving the health and wellness of Pontiac residents.

“The Healthy Pontiac, We Can coalition is working hard to improve the quality of life for Pontiac residents. It has accomplished so much since the Health Division created the coalition in 2011,” Patterson said. “The Health Division has brought many diverse partners together to create sustainable opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating by leveraging over a million dollars in state and federal grant funds and local resources.”

Since its inception, HPWC has:
• Received over $1,173,895 in funding from federal and state grant awards
• Created and helped maintain two produce markets, bringing fresh fruits and  vegetables to Pontiac residents that accept SNAP / EBT benefits
• Installed exercise equipment and a walking trail at Oakland Park
• Received awards from State Senator Jim Marleau and the National Kidney Foundation for its community-based prevention strategies
• Implemented activities in Pontiac such as walking clubs and other recreation at local parks to get families moving
• Installed signage at three parks and another two along the Clinton River Trail to increase recognition of local parks and trails
• Partnered with Lafayette and Carnival markets to implement Healthy Bites, an in-store guide to help residents purchase healthy foods
• Provided healthy recipe demonstrations at the produce markets and presented a cooking curriculum at two summer feeding sites for children in kindergarten through sixth grade
• Linked residents to low-cost services in Pontiac for physical activity, fresh foods and more

“Healthy Pontiac, We Can is one of our largest collaborations, supported by over 40 community partners,” said Kathy Forzley, OCHD manager / health officer. “We all share Mr. Patterson’s vision for a healthier Oakland County and a healthier Pontiac and continue to strive for improved health outcomes.”

In addition to maintaining its current activities, HPWC has the following 2015 projects lined up for Pontiac residents:
• Launch Gleaner’s Community Fresh Food Share initiative
• Add bike racks, bike fix-it stations, and additional signage along the Clinton River Trail
• Expand Healthy Bites to Pontiac Schools and McLaren Oakland Hospital
• Develop breast-feeding friendly environments within community agencies
• Work with schools to increase healthy eating and physical activity
• Launch two additional weekly produce markets that offer affordable fresh produce and accept SNAP benefits
• Expand healthy eating options in local churches
• Create a non-motorized transportation plan to identify and create safe and accessible walking and biking routes that connect public parks, produce markets, schools, businesses, neighborhoods, and public transportation

The press release stated that all residents are invited to visit the Pontiac produce markets and sample fresh fruits and vegetables during food demonstrations next week and throughout the spring and summer. All Saints Episcopal Church’s Produce Market is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 171 West Pike St. Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency’s Produce Market is open on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 196 Cesar E. Chavez Ave.

For more information about HPWC and its partners, visit www.HealthyPontiac.org or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healthypontiac.mi.

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at [email protected].

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