Sierra County Health Council received a $20,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative. Sierra County Health Council’s commitment to promote, support and contribute to the highest quality of life of all people in Sierra County aligns with the vision of BCBSNM’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant program to help improve the health of children and their families in local communities.
Because of the HKHF grant, the Sierra County Health Council can engage and provide education to Arrey Elementary, Truth or Consequences Middle School and Hot Springs High School by providing hydroponics in all three schools and greenhouses at the middle and elementary schools. Students will learn about growing and eating healthy food. At Arrey Elementary, the impact and access to healthy foods will allow families receiving food bank services to pick their own vegetables and work in a community garden. In addition, the schools will receive seeds, garden hoses, soil and potting containers to extend the learning process from hydroponics to greenhouse to outdoor gardening.
“Engagement, continued education, and prevention is key in building and developing a healthier tomorrow,” said Sierra County Health Council Coordinator Phyllis Mecca. “Through the BCBSNM grant the Sierra Health Council has been able to engage school age children and provide education regarding farm to table foods. The children are learning about healthier food choices and how the many elements of nature are needed to grow crops.”
“We’re proud to partner with the Sierra County Health Council,” said Dr. Wei-Ann Bay, BCBSNM chief medical officer. “The Sierra County Health Council is providing access to healthy food, physical activity and nutrition education with the goal of promoting healthier child development.”
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a signature program of BCBSNM. The initiative focuses on engaging children and their families in understanding the importance of nutritious food, raising the level of physical activity, better managing chronic conditions and promoting safe environments. Likewise, the Sierra County Health Council works to provide education about healthier food choices to improve the health of children and families in Sierra County.