ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Delta Health Alliance and Monsanto are teaming up to improve the health of Delta residents in Bolivar and Washington counties, Mississippi. Monsanto Company is providing Delta Health Alliance with a $500,000 grant to carry out a comprehensive program of physical education for children, greater access to farmers markets, community gardens and nutritious food, and an expansion of the popular Imagination Library program.
“Monsanto passionately supports rural communities and the communities where our customers and employees live and work. As a company positioned at the beginning of the food chain, we seek to collaborate with local organizations to make sure everyone has access to an affordable, balanced meal,” said Mike Frank, Monsanto’s Vice President of Global Commercial, at the July 6 check presentation. “Delta Health Alliance proposed an approach that focuses on providing more nutritious food offerings and teaching children how to live a healthier life. We are pleased to partner with them and help fund this robust program.”
A major component of the Delta Health Alliance plan will involve five elementary and middle schools in Washington County (Boyd, Trigg and Webb Elementary Schools in Greenville) and Bolivar County (Ray Brooks in Benoit and McEvans School in Shaw.) The students in these schools will participate in the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) Kids Club, which promotes physical activities and nutrition education in an after-school setting. In addition, Delta Health Alliance will work with school officials to increase the amount of physical activity in which students engage during the day. Students will also receive nutrition education for selecting healthy food, reading nutrition labels and goal setting.
According to Marlin Womack, Delta Health Alliance CFO, “We recognize the need to create greater access to nutritious food. The Monsanto grant will enable us to partner with grassroots organizations and faith-based groups to expand farmers markets and community gardens as well as provide students with nutritious food offerings on the weekends. For example, our proposal calls for establishing community gardens next to day care centers and schools.”
Monsanto’s grant will also fund an expansion of the Delta Health Alliance Imagination Library program into Washington and Bolivar counties. This program provides each child from birth to age five with a free book each month. Staff will work with area childcare centers to improve reading comprehension skills by developing reading circles and providing nutritious snacks based on reading books in the Imagination Library program. According to Womack, “Kindergarten readiness tests in pre-reading and pre-math show that children enrolled in Imagination Library are more than twice as prepared to enter kindergarten as students not enrolled in the program.”
Research shows us that improved nutrition and better literacy leads to a healthier population. When children are reached at an early age and families are engaged in changing behavior of the whole household, real improvements in obesity and healthy living can be achieved.
“The health of the people in the communities where Monsanto operates is imperative; they are our employees, their families and our neighbors. We invest in community health and safety initiatives on a global scale,” said Frank.
To learn more about Delta Health Alliance visit www.deltahealthalliance.org.
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.