5-2-1-0 funds help close wellness gaps in Missouri Valley
Harrison County has made strides towards creating healthier environments for its citizens in recent years. When the Healthy Harrison Coalition was established in 2013, a healthy produce voucher program was created and a renewed focus was put on mental health and substance abuse with new events and programming.
Missouri Valley – the largest community in Harrison County – was one of 14 communities across the state selected for a 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! grant to help support wellness projects. Missouri Valley received $30,000 from the Iowa Department of Public Health in FY20.
"People care a lot about the health of the kids here," said Brad Brake, Harrison County Health Director. He and the Healthy Harrison Coalition immediately started reviewing funding proposals for community projects.
"To see the school and the Chamber of Commerce and others come to the table was affirming of what we already knew – that if the opportunity is there, the community will take it and run with it.”
Here are the projects that were funded in Missouri Valley:
Fulfilling a need for physical activity space
A large health gap routinely identified by community health needs assessments in Harrison County is access to physical activity. Though Missouri Valley is the county's largest community with a population of 2,500, it does not have a local YMCA or other recreation center.
"In all of the Harrison County schools, there is no public facility," said Brent Hoesing, Missouri Valley Schools district superintendent. "To do an activity, you have to go to Omaha or Council Bluffs. It’s just a scramble to find a facility to use for any kind of indoor physical activity.”
A large portion of the funds were allocated to purchase equipment for the Missouri Valley Activity Learning Center, set to be completed in August. The multi-use facility is being built as an addition to the Missouri Valley Elementary School.
The facility, which was funded through a bond vote last year, will have gym space, a walking track, 40-yard artificial turf field plus classrooms, conference rooms and office areas. District levy funding will pay for the activity learning center to be staffed so that community members can use the facility and equipment free of charge.
"The bond built the building, but we still have to figure out how to provide the equipment for the facility," said Hoesing.
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That's where the 5-2-1-0 funding comes in: A multi-sport system was purchased to attract a variety of community members. The poles and nets can be adjusted and used to play volleyball, badminton, tennis or pickleball. Additional volleyball equipment was also purchased.
Funds were also used to purchase two water bottle filling stations at the new activity learning center and to replace an aging water fountain with a new water bottle filling station within the elementary school.
Increasing fresh produce at the food pantry
Ben Dorland, 17, lives in Woodbine but is a member of the Community of Christ Church in Missouri Valley and wanted to find a way to give back to the community for his Eagle Scout project.
There are currently two garden beds on church grounds which supply fresh produce to the Harrison County Food Pantry. However, due to being ground-level, the gardens are hard for church members to maintain. Dorland is in the process of building 12 waist-height planting boxes. Each will be 6-feet long and 1-foot wide and have a different fruit or vegetable planted.
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"Everything we grow will go to the food pantry so they have a constant supply of fresh produce," said Dorland.
With 5-2-1-0 funds that his scout leader helped him acquire, Dorland is also installing a 500-gallon rainwater collection tank and engineering a watering system to help with long-term maintenance of the garden. The beds will also provide an outdoor volunteer activity for local youth groups, he said.
Making outdoor play more fun
Lisa Dozier is the owner of Dozier Daycare, a gold-level 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Registered Early Care Site since March 2019.
“We’re always outside as much as we can. No tablets, no TV," said Dozier. "We eat fruits and vegetables with every meal."
The Missouri Valley Chamber of Commerce first approached Dozier Daycare about potentially funding some additional physical activity equipment for the children in her care. Dozier had a 15-year old outdoor play set which was able to be replaced using 5-2-1-0 funds.
"It’s the main focus of all of our backyard activities. (The kids) love it," said Dozer. The new set was installed in March and includes a slide, rock wall, climbing rope, swings and a play kitchen. "It's very popular."
Learn more about 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count!
5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is a health-focused movement for kids that’s under the nationally recognized program, 5-2-1-0. It all starts by encouraging them to eat and play the right way.
This proven, scientific method helps keep kids healthy by focusing on the importance of four habits:
- 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
- 2 hours or less of screen time (television, computer, video games, phones, etc.)
- 1 hour or more of physical activity
- 0 (or reduce) sugar-sweetened beverages - drink more water!
To learn more about how you can get your community, workplace, school, health care clinic or child care site involved in 5-2-1-0, click here.