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Community leaders call for collective impact

By Whitney Buchmann

On a Saturday afternoon in June, over 20 members of faith-based organizations that have participated in Camden Coalition’s Faith in Prevention program conducted a first-hand assessment of their Camden neighborhoods for available resources in healthy eating and active living. They were looking to document a wide range of conditions — among them, sidewalks that were broken, cracked, or obstructed; speeding or reckless drivers; and the availability of recreational spaces or classes and corner stores stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. 

While inputting the data, my preliminary reactions were to the lack of true recreational space. However, after a full analysis, the Healthy Eating & Active Living Community Assessment revealed a more robust set of findings:

 

 

As mentioned in our previous coverage of this issue, no one is in a better position to assess neighborhood conditions, interpret the data, and recommend changes to a community than the residents themselves. In reviewing these findings, community leaders seemed frustrated that the size of intervention required in their neighborhoods would call for much more resources than our coalition currently has at its disposal. The suggestion of purchasing equipment to re-purpose a vacant lot was seen as a band-aid on a deeper wound. 

Community assessments are used to provide key stakeholders, decision-makers, and community members with information that can be beneficial in planning and improving identified concerns at the policy, system and environment level. Therefore, community leaders focused their recommendations on sharing these findings widely in an effort to leverage partnerships and funding for a larger impact. They are calling on local businesses, non-profits, and government to come together for sidewalk improvements, creatively positioning food pantries as a resource to facilitate healthy eating habits, and bringing recent revitalization efforts to their front doors.

About the Grantee

Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers

We are a multidisciplinary nonprofit working to improve care for people with complex health and social needs in Camden, NJ, and across the country. The Camden Coalition works to advance the field of complex care by implementing person-centered programs and piloting new models that address chronic illness and social barriers to health and wellbeing.