The City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) Fit Families SNAP-Ed project partners with WIC and several other programs. Together they hosted their 7th annual Summer Carnival. The event took place at Reiske Park in the summer of 2019.
The Summer Carnival first began in 2012 as a way to celebrate participants in Fit Families SNAP-Ed. Over time, the carnival has grown. It now includes participants from other programs and community members. The event reinforces Wisconsin Fit Families SNAP-Ed messaging in two ways:
- Carnival hosts offer whole grain snacks.
- The event provides entertainment. This limits screen time and encourages physical activity.
Parents or guardians can enroll their children in the Fit Families SNAP-Ed program. The program offers coaching for families to encourage healthy eating and physical activity habits.
In 2019, MHD Fit Families SNAP-Ed and WIC staff put together their most successful Summer Carnival! With the help of staff and volunteers, they served a record 650 attendees. Backpacks and school supplies were donated to the event. These were given to attendees for the upcoming school year.
MHD also worked with partners to offer healthy refreshments, raffle prizes, and carnival-themed games. The event included face painting, a bounce house, and a clown who made balloon animals!
The impact of the Summer Carnival goes beyond the Fit Families SNAP-Ed and WIC programs. Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) staff reported that they were able to enroll more children at the Summer Carnival this year than at other events this summer. Fit Families and WIC also partnered with Hunger Task Force. This group provides free lunches and dinners for the community at Reiske Park each day during the summer.
Other community partners included:
- Mitchell Elementary School
- Milwaukee Breast and Cervical Cancer Awareness Program (MBCCAP)
- Direct Assistance to Dads (DAD) project
- Milwaukee Health Department Newborn Screening Program
- Safe Sleep Program
- Acelero Learning
- Healthy Start
What started as a small celebration for Fit Families SNAP-Ed participants has evolved. It is now a free, safe, and family-friendly event for the whole community. “Our goal is to continue to grow this event and get the whole Muskego Way neighborhood involved in keeping Reiske Park a vibrant, clean, and safe green space for the community,” says City of Milwaukee Health Department Fit Families SNAP-Ed Administrator and WIC program manager, Natalie Alcaraz. “We hope to continue getting other organizations involved to make the Summer Carnival a broader community event.”