Mixing and Matching Programs to Reach Arizona's Food Stamp-Eligible Communities
Posted June 14‚ 2010
What's the key to reaching low-income communities with messages about how to stay at a healthy weight?
The secret recipe—according to a We Can!® site in Nogales, Arizona—is using
We Can! messages and materials to bolster existing nutrition and physical activity programming, and reach more participants.
"We were looking for a government–approved program with both good nutrition and physical activity components, so I asked a friend who's with the University of Arizona–Nutritional Sciences Department for her suggestion of a good program," says Chris Bachelier, a new We Can! community site leader. "She recommended
We Can! right off of the top of her head!"
Bachelier directs the Arizona Nutrition Network (funded through the USDA) Mix it Up: Food, Fitness and Fun Program, which caters to food–stamp eligible recipients, and began incorporating We Can!'s nutrition materials into new nutrition classes at the Anza Gym at the Nogales Housing Authority in January 2010.
"Right now we're using We Can! materials in individual nutrition classes because our participants tend to commit to one class but waffle on doing four," she said. "Our plan is to expand into four–session courses over the summer, if we can generate interest."
Bachelier and her program trainers are working hard to interest people who come to the gym to sign up for the nutrition classes, and to keep that interest high once they do.
"Mix It Up" launched in September 2007 as a partnership between the Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools, the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, and Mariposa Community Health Center. It also serves school districts in Nogales and Rio Rico where at least 50 percent of students receive free or reduced–cost lunches.