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Promotora: A Walking Group for Seniors

| California

2018

At St. Margaret’s Center we implement nutrition education and Policy, Systems and Environmental Change (PSE) work. Our PSE work reinforces healthy behaviors among the public. Our PSE work helps people improve their lives and includes:

  • A new walking club to support and encourage physical activity.
  • The Nutrition Policy for St. Margaret’s Center and Food Pantry. This helps the pantry provide and encourage healthier food selections to the public.
  • The edible garden which extends the fresh produce available to our direct education students and food pantry clients.
  • An active Yoga class that is free to participants.
  • Promotion and access to free water.
walking group posing for a photo

Outcomes

28% increase in the amount of fresh produce donated to St. Margaret’s Center Food Pantry compared to the previous year. Garden producing cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, chilies and strawberries for food demonstration education. Leveraged community partnerships to provide free water bottles and yoga classes. A successful walking group of 20 community members that meets weekly.

Walking Club

The walking club was initiated in May 2017 by a current Nutrition Educator. It started with four of our direct education students that had completed our nutrition classes. They wanted to be part of the new physical activity project which had been promoted  throughout our series. The group originally met at St. Margaret’s Center and walked to a local park a few blocks away from the center in the city of Lennox. Participants shared that being part of the walking club made them feel safe to walk around their community. They would never walk around their community alone.

With 4 regular participants, we promoted the club. A local senior center also helped us promote the walking club. Our group grew from 4 participants to 20 participants. Currently, we provide our participants with infused and chilled water and healthy snacks, as well as a Champions for Change shirt for them to wear as they walk. The shirts are given to our participants to give them a greater sense of belonging. At the end of our walking session participants are invited to join our nutrition classes and are provided with nutrition promotion materials. A raffle is done to motivate their continued attendance.

The program is so successful that we no longer have to make reminder phone calls to participants from the senior center. They all remember that Friday morning’s the St. Margaret’s Center Walking Club is ready to walk with them.

CAwalk2

More Projects

Our Nutrition Policy for the Food Pantry has improved the amount of fresh produce donated to the St. Margaret’s Center Food Pantry in year 2016-2017 in comparison to year 2015-2016. This success benefits some of our direct education students, as many use the St. Margaret’s Center Food pantry services.

Another success with our PSE work was our St. Margaret’s Center garden. In the summer of 2017, the garden produced 30 pounds of cherry tomatoes, 25 pounds of cucumbers, 1 pound of chilies, and 3 pounds of strawberries. The produce was used in our food demonstrations with our direct education students and what was not used was distributed in our food pantry.

At St. Margaret’s Center we promote and encourage drinking water. With the help of community partners, St. Margaret’s Center offers free water bottles as available to participants. From October 2016- September 2017 about 3,400 clients received water at our center.

With the help of a dedicated volunteer Yoga Instructor, St. Margaret’s Center has been able to maintain a free Yoga class for participant since 2015.


This story was submitted by Catholic Charities Los Angeles; St. Margaret’s Center, a SNAP-Ed Agency. For more information, please contact Elisa Pehlke.

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