Live Well grant program awards $20,000: Six organizations named cycle two recipients

MANISTEE COUNTY — A collaborative effort to increase Manistee County’s access to healthy food continued to prove fruitful this week as six more organizations were named recipients of the Live Well Manistee Collaborative Grant Program.

A total of nearly $20,000 will be dispersed among the selected groups for their project proposals, rounding out a two-cycle re-granting initiative coordinated by the Manistee County Community Foundation (MCCF) and District Health Department No. 10, through the Live Well Manistee coalition.

Laura Heintzelman, executive director of the Community Foundation, announced the recipients during Thursday’s monthly Live Well Manistee meeting.

“Just as a brief background and reminder for everybody, the District Health Department No. 10 and the Manistee County Community Foundation both received separate grants (approximately $30,000 apiece) from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, about a year ago now.

“We decided that rather than go through those processes independently, we would bring it into Live Well and work collaboratively to award those monies,” she explained. “The District Health Department’s grant was for approximately a year and the Community Foundation’s was for approximately two years, so the way it worked out was our first round of funding included nearly $30,000 from the Health Department and $10,000 from the Community Foundation’s pool.”

The first cycle, which was announced in August, distributed $40,000 among seven organizations which proposed projects to improve access to healthy food, especially among Manistee County children and seniors living in poverty.

“Still working collaboratively, we started a second cycle of grant funding,” Heintzelman explained. “We congratulate these organizations and look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of these grants on the Manistee County food system.

“We are thrilled to know that they will help improve the health of children and seniors across Manistee County.”

The six funded projects range in scope and focus, but each offer a unique approach to increasing access to healthy foods. Grant award amounts and recipients include:

• $7,500 to the Manistee Community Kitchen to continue their efforts to strengthen the Manistee County food pantry system through collaboration and innovation and to sustain and enhance the organization’s core programs including Jesse’s Garden, the Manistee Farmers Market and the Iron Works Café.

• $2,800 to Northern Pathways Equine Center to support integration of a new farm-to-table learning module, HARVEST, into existing programs including providing the opportunity for participants to grow and use fresh herbs and vegetables and experience four types of gardening: hoop houses, vertical garden, raised beds and traditional.

• $2,600 to Bethany Lutheran Church for the Kaleva Food Pantry to improve food storage, capacity and efficiency and to ensure the availability of healthy food year-round through the purchase of a refrigerator/freezer, food cart and healthy foods.

• $2,000 to Onekama Consolidated Schools to support the purchase of healthy foods for the Portager Pride Packs program, which currently provides food and hygiene products for 35 students in need between kindergarten through 12th grade throughout the school year.

• $3,453 to the Manistee Friendship Society to support its mission of providing socialization, support and activities for people living with varying degrees of mental illness by offering healthy snacks and healthy foods in their food pantry as part of its broader efforts to promote healthy lifestyle changes to its members.

• $1,068 to Benzie Area Christian Neighbors to support the health of neighbors in northern Manistee County communities by helping BACN maintain a consistent supply of milk and fresh produce in its food pantry and to encourage neighbors to choose healthy foods.

Funding recommendations were made by a community advisory committee comprised of members of the Live Well Manistee Coalition and the Manistee County Community Foundation board of directors which reviewed and scored proposals according to eligibility and selection criteria.

“I want to extend appreciation to committee members who have put a ton of time and effort into this,” said Heintzelman.

The committee’s recommendations were approved by the MCCF board of directors at its Feb. 14 meeting.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund was established to improve the health of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care with special emphasis on the health and wellness of children and seniors.

For additional information about the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, visit mhealthfund.com or call (517) 374-0031.

Manistee County’s grantees will be presenting their programs at an upcoming food summit to be held from 1-4:30 p.m. on March 20 at the Portage Point Inn in Onekama.

The summit, titled “Bountiful Tables: A Discussion About Access to Healthy Foods in Manistee County” is open to the public. To register contact District Health Department No. 10’s Melanie Perry at mperty@dhd10.org or (231) 309-8949.

For questions regarding the Live Well Manistee Collaborative Grant Program, contact Heintzelman at laura@manisteefoundation.org or (231) 723-7269; or Perry at mperry@dhd10.org or (231) 309-8949.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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