Trenton Faith-Based Organizations Receive Health Grants

Seven Trenton churches and faith-based organizations have received grants from the Trenton Health Team to implement activities and educational programming to promote healthy eating and physical activity in the capital city.

The awards are the first round of funding from Trenton Health Team, and were made possible through a ‘Faith in Prevention’ grant from the New Jersey Department of Health. The recipients are:

– Cadwalader Asbury United Methodist Church
– The Church of the Blessed Sacrament – Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd
– El Centro of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton
– St. Vladimir Orthodox Christian Church
– Shiloh Baptist Church
– Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
– Westminster Presbyterian Church

In a city where 39 percent of the residents are obese and 16 percent suffer from diabetes, officials and religious leaders are partnering to help people get healthy.

“Through this program, we are encouraging community residents to take ownership of their health and well-being,” said James Brownlee, director of the Department of Health and Human Services and Health Officer for the City of Trenton, who is also serving as the president of the Trenton Health Team.

Grant funds are used to underwrite programs encouraging people to eat healthy foods and increase physical activity, including exercise classes and the establishment of church gardens. Groups involved in the program start with a self-assessment to determine the needs and interests of their congregation and community.

Grant recipients receiving program funding ranging from $3,500 to $8,500. As additional churches apply to join the program, the Trenton Health Team expects to make another round of grants. The team will award a total of $62,000 to Trenton faith-based organizations.

“These faith-based programs will help us expand on our community connections, building awareness and participation in nutrition and active lifestyle programs that will be delivered through the infrastructure of a trusted and established resource:  the community’s churches and faith-based organizations,” said Gregory Paulson, deputy director of the Trenton Health Team.  “We look forward to an ongoing partnership with the city’s churches and congregations that will advance our shared mission of healing and health for the community.”

The Trenton Health Team is an alliance of the city’s major providers of healthcare services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the city’s Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city’s active social services network, the team is attempting to develop an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city’s fragmented primary care system and restore health to the city.

Trenton Mayor Jackson said health is a priority for planning and policy within his administration, and that the city is working to implement a “health in all policies” approach as a focus within the Trenton250 Master Plan.

“We count the faith community as true partners in our efforts to improve health outcomes for Trenton, helping to increase knowledge, access, and hope for our citizens,” Jackson said.

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