MARION, S.C. — The Marion County Coordinating Council (MCCC) and Pee Dee Community Action Partnership (PDCAP) was selected to receive the BUILD Health Challenge award last week. The Marion County CHFE (Creating Healthy Food Environments) Project will receive $250,000 in funding and additional resources to support the work of MCCC, along with core partners PDCAP, MUSC Health Marion Medical Center, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), Health Care Partners of South Carolina (HCPSC), and Clemson Cooperative Extension.
Together, they will work to create and sustain linkages between health care and a nutrition network in order to decrease food insecurity and increase nutrition literacy. MUSC Health Marion Medical Center and Health Care Partners of SC will screen families with preschool children and refer eligible families to the CHFE (“chef”) produce prescription program that connects them with fresh fruit and vegetables and nutrition education. MUSC Health Marion Medical Center has generously provided matching funds and in-kind support to make the grant award possible.
Marion County Coordinating Council Chairman Rev. Marvin Hemingway said the aim is to address food access, obesity, and nutrition education in Marion County.
“Through our produce prescription program, we seek to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to families with children ages 2-4 who are deemed food insecure,” he said. “In doing so, we will develop healthy lifestyle habits.”
Hemingway said due to 21.9 percent of children and 43 percent of adults in Marion County being obese and the health problems associated with it, he welcomes the opportunity to address the issue and appreciates all the local partners that have stepped up to the plate.
“This is truly a team effort and for the good of Marion County,” he said.
The CHFE nutrition network will be comprised of sources of produce, which include a food share program accessible via purchase using the Healthy Bucks benefit of SNAP, farmers’ market, Harvest Hope Food Bank food pantries and retailers in Marion, Mullins, Sellers, Gresham and Brittons Neck. Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA) is also partnering to provide transportation in the county, he said.
The BUILD Health Challenge is a unique national program focusing on bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven projects that can improve community health. The BUILD Health Challenge award provides funding, capacity building support, and access to a national peer learning network to enhance collaborative partnerships here locally to address our community’s most pressing health challenges. Special thanks to the BUILD Health Challenge for its support of this initiative.
“MUSC Health is focused on innovative ways to impact issues upstream. Through this produce prescription program, we hope to not only address food insecurity for families in Marion County but subsequently develop healthy habits early on through proper nutrition education,” Assistant Chief Executive Official for MUSC Health Marion Medical Center Spencer Twigg said.