Partnering with faith communities to expand healthy change to neighborhoods

Man holds up a small plate of fruit and vegetable salad at a church dinner
Date
February 1, 2019
November 14, 2019
It takes an ecosystem: Finding success in complex care
Read the Putting Care at the Center 2019 opening remarks by Kathleen Noonan, CEO
Kathleen Noonan
Putting Care at the Center attendees converse at a table.
October 29, 2019
Camden Coalition partners with the Better Care Playbook to share practical solutions for serving complex populations
Lessons from our local and national innovations that offer guidance for serving complex populations.
Mavis Asiedu-Frimpong
A group of 5 National Consumer Scholars at the Putting Care at the Center 2019 conference in Chicago
September 25, 2019
A community engaged: The Camden Coalition as a local and national hub for community empowerment
The Camden Coalition has built a robust community engagement strategy to recognize individuals with lived experience as key complex care partners.
Whitney Buchmann
August 19, 2019
Translating local innovation into statewide policy: Lessons from a medications for addiction treatment (MAT) prior authorization pilot in Camden, New Jersey
In this brief, we outline our prior authorization pilot program and our work with partners to translate the pilot into successful statewide policy.
Natasha Dravid and Alex Staropoli
August 19, 2019
Camden residents identify barriers to health in their neighborhoods
Members of organizations that have participated in our Faith in Prevention program conducted a health assessment of their Camden neighborhoods.
Whitney Buchmann
Camden Coalition staff and Community Advisory Committee members participate at the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey’s Annual Legislative Day at New Jersey State House
July 18, 2019
Camden Coalition joins the call to fully fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
To help secure FY2020 funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, CAC members took part in HCDNNJ's Annual Legislative Day at the NJ State House.
Whitney Buchmann

By Whitney Buchmann

Over the past five years, the Camden Coalition’s Faith in Prevention program has reached almost 60 faith-based organizations serving Camden city residents. An initiative of the New Jersey Department of Health, Faith in Prevention expands the role of faith-based organizations in the delivery of health prevention services in Camden County. Last year, New Jersey Healthy Communities Network and the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids provided us with funding to reach two more congregations as part of their strategy to create community-based social support for physical activity. This year, we’re teaming up again to build on the social network we’ve established through Faith in Prevention and conduct community assessments.

Making healthy changes in congregations

After members participated in the six-week Faith in Prevention curriculum about healthy eating and active living, each faith-based organization in our program applied for mini-grants to promote lifestyle changes across their congregations and communities. These funds required environmental and policy changes at the organization level to ensure that the lessons from the curriculum continue beyond the program’s initial six weeks.

It was inspiring to see how each community chose to implement changes in unique, creative ways. Past initiatives include cooking classes, increased access to exercise equipment, and community challenges to encourage lifestyle changes. St John’s Ministry eliminated all foods with high fat, sugar, sodium, and carbs from all church-sponsored events, and continue to offer monthly cooking classes and “Salad Bar Sundays.” Word of Faith Christian Fellowship offers education and resources to accompany changes in recipes they use to feed their members. Mt Olivet Church created an exercise area with equipment and exercise videos, and holds regular Cooper River walks after Sunday service. And Vibrant Church holds a “Biggest Loser” challenge to see who can lose the most weight in a given period, and has improved exercise consistency among members with their Moving on the MarQ exercise ministry.

Expanding healthy change to neighborhoods

This year, our strategy with New Jersey Healthy Communities Network is to conduct community assessments for healthy eating and active living at the neighborhood level. We plan to group Faith in Prevention alumni organizations by neighborhood and invite them to assess the needs of the broader community by using New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids funds as an incentive. We’re asking groups to think bigger this year and make plans that affect not just their own congregations, but also whole neighborhoods. For example, instead of making a walking path outside of a church or temple, groups can create a neighborhood walking path that stretches several blocks and is accessible to more people. This is a great opportunity for faith-based organizations to provide healthy solutions to issues they see in their community. We’re excited to see how faith communities will work together to improve healthy eating and active living in Camden and take Faith in Prevention to the next level.

Stay Informed

Join our mailing list to get the latest updates sent right to your inbox from the Camden Coalition.

Sign Up