SCAN has been awarded significant new funding to establish a new program for NYCHA residents in East Harlem.
The $75,000 grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, in partnership with United Neighborhood Houses, provides full funding for SCAN to launch Get Healthy, East Harlem at our Lehman Cornerstone center this fall. Further, we will use our activities at Lehman to build interest and engagement in healthy food programming at our five other NYCHA-based Cornerstone centers in East Harlem.
Through an array of activities, the program will address the key challenges to improving access to, and use of, healthy food identified by NYCHA residents who participated in our healthy food pilot project last year: the cost of healthy food, the lack of education about healthier options and cooking skills, and the lack of places and methods to share knowledge and ideas about healthy food with other community members.
The main focus of the project will be monthly Healthy Food Cafe “pop-up events” on Saturdays at Lehman, with NYCHA residents planning and executing all aspects of each event, including the menu, cooking, and marketing and publicity. To bring new knowledge and cooking skills to residents, Lehman will host monthly Hands-On Cooking Labs for families, conducted by our project partners, Red Rabbit. An East Harlem-based company that provides 20,000 healthy meals a day to nearly 150 independent, charter and public schools, Red Rabbit will also work with SCAN to train NYCHA residents so they can conduct their own Hands-On Cooking Labs for community members.
The project will also feature the production of two new Healthy Dance music videos, featuring SCAN youth ages 5-12, semi-monthly Cooking Skills Classes for teens by the New York Junior League’s CHEF (Cooking and Health Education for Families) program at our East River and Lehman Cornerstone centers, and a series of Stand Up! East Harlem Workshops by educators from the NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College. Stand Up! is interactive workshop that educates teens about how to protect themselves and their families from the dangers of fast food, soda, and other high calorie foods.
Get Healthy, East Harlem also includes components aimed at training and mobilizing residents to be authentic voices in larger, community-wide efforts and discussions around healthy food. We will hold meetings with NYCHA residents every two months, to share knowledge, and identify new resources and leaders to enhance the project. SCAN will also share project best practices at quarterly meetings of the new Healthy Food for Upper Manhattan (HFUM) workgroup, which we co-founded earlier this year in collaboration with the NYC Food Policy Center and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital. HFUM’s most recent meeting was attended by over 40 representatives from local human service, education, and food-focused organizations.
We expect that this multifaceted, sustained level of food-related programming will ultimately produce healthy lifestyle changes among NYCHA residents, and look forward to sharing more news about the project in the months ahead!