EZ Ride Celebrates Two Years of Promoting Active Living & Healthy Eating in Plainfield

As 2017 ends, we reflect on all that we’ve accomplished during the two year grant period. To encourage active living we made presentations to 1,825 Plainfield students to promote walking and biking and safety at Jefferson Elementary, Barlow Elementary, Evergreen Elementary, Woodland Elementary, Queen City Academy Charter and Hubbard Middle School.  190 children received new bike helmets and participated in several bike rodeos. As well, we funded new bike racks for students at Hubbard Middle School and Barlow Elementary School.

At Barlow Elementary, we conducted a walk assessment this Fall with the help of the entire fifth grade.  A walk assessment helps schools and the community to identify barriers that make it difficult or dangerous to walk or bike to school. During our assessment, Barlow’s fifth graders along with EZ Ride , City of Plainfield Police/administrators and School District staff  took photos and identified key improvements to make walking and biking a safer and easier way to get to school. Our photos along with our suggested improvements and recommendations will be compiled into a School Travel Plan report.   In 2016, EZ Ride helped to initiate and coordinate Plainfield’s District Wide walk assessment with the City, School District, and Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning. Several grad students did the walk audits prepared around seven schools and prepared a District Wide Travel Plan which helped the city secure a $304,000 Safe Routes to School Infrastructure grant. This grant will be used to install bike lanes and make improvements to sidewalks, signs, lighting and streets to make biking and walking a more appealing transportation alternative.

To support healthier eating and greater accessibility to fresh fruits and vegetables, we recruited 4 corner stores in 2016 for our Healthy Corner Store Initiative and organized 11 Healthy Tasting Events in 2017. At these events, 363 samples of healthy items such as fresh popped popcorn, mangoes, fruit smoothies, clementines, string cheese, and fresh fruit have been distributed.  331 Coupons were given away to the public to get free healthy snacks and drinks such as water, pretzels, popcorn, gogurt, mangoes, oranges, apples, and bananas. 79 people received free blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart rate screenings.

To celebrate the end of the year and holiday season, we conducted our final event of the year at Isabelita Market. Several Plainfield residents braved the cold weather to receive a free health screening, healthy snacks, and a chance to win a raffle for two gift baskets filled with healthy items such as fresh fruits, pretzels, health literature, a water bottle, 100% juice, beans, bran cereal and more! Pictured is a young winner with store owner Alvin Salas, Jeannette Aparicio of Plainfield Urban Economic Development, and Plainfield Health Officer Dr. Atif Nazir.

All our work could not have been done without the help of our partners: The City of Plainfield Health Department, Division of Parks and Recreation, Planning, Department of Urban Economic Development, Police Department, Plainfield Public Schools, Union County Health Department Medical Reserve Corps, Atlantic Health, Rutgers SNAP-Ed, the Food Trust, and the Plainfield Dairy Queen.

We look forward to continuing our work with the schools and cornerstores in 2018!

For more info, please contact:

Lisa Lee at llee@ezride.org or Gabriella Bacchus at gbacchus@ezride.org

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