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Commodities Grant

Commodities Grant  

Valerie de Fluiter, GIRESD Commodities Grant Manager
The Commodities Grant targets the 60+ senior who receives monthly commodities (a food supplementation program for low-income and/or disabled seniors) in Gratiot, Isabella, Clare, Gladwin and Midland counties at 9 different distribution sites. Nutrition educators taught on-site classes at each of the 9 locations emphasizing how adopting two key behaviors, 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day and 30 minutes of physical activity most days, would improve their health and quality of life. By teaching the class at the pick-up site, participants could take advantage of both. 

Each session averaged about 70 in attendance across the 9 sites. The 8-session class ran from May to December. Participants learned to analyze their current habits and set small attainable goals. The challenges of adopting these behaviors were discussed along with possible solutions. They learned that adding fruits and vegetables to classic favorites and adding a rainbow of color to the plate adds a variety of nutrients. We also discussed how to optimize their food resources to eat smart, yet spend less, making this transition affordable. A feature Harvest of the Month recipe sample each month helped participants to try foods they otherwise wouldn’t and discover how tasty they could be. One participant said, “I made a triple batch of Kale & Apple Salad and Baked Peaches and Oatmeal for my daughter. She loved them both and wanted the recipe.” Another said she makes the Garlicky Green Beans all the time substituting other vegetables for the green beans sometimes.

Included in the class were simple no-cost exercises that could easily be done at home designed to improve strength, balance and flexibility. Several commented how helpful the simple exercises were and one man experienced relief from pain in his shoulder after doing the arm exercises. Opportunities available in the community were researched in each area and participants given a resource sheet on trails, fitness centers, and other low-cost/no-cost options available to them. One participant said, “I will be looking into that Activity Center, as it would be a nice safe way to exercise in the winter months.”

This grant project was a pilot program. Grant opportunities to continue this project will be available Spring 2017. It is our goal to apply and secure funding to continue our relationship with the seniors in our communities.