Healthy Living is Faith in Action
At the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, we have a vision of a transformed healthcare system that ensures every individual receives whole-person care rooted in authentic healing relationships. This is why we are partnering with New Jersey Health Communities Network (NJHCN) to encourage healthy eating and active living through our Faith in Prevention program.
Faith in Prevention works to train faith-based organization leaders in healthy eating, physical activities, and cooking demonstrations that they can then teach to their attendees. The larger goal of the program is to connect people to healthy resources and prevent complex health and social needs in the community. Faith in Prevention entails 6 classes that each include a cooking lesson and physical activity lead by lay leaders of each congregation. The program culminates with the faith-based organizations creating a proposal for policy and environmental changes that benefit their attendees’ well-being. In the past, proposals have been for community gardens, jungle gyms, walking paths, health equipment, and access to stoves for healthy cooking.
“Research studies, from John Hopkins Medicine, show that people who are involved in a faith-based community lead healthier lives. They believe their lives have more meaning. They cope better with stress. They experience less depression and anxiety, and they experience greater well-being.” said Harold G. Goenig, M.D., M.H.Sc.
Promoting the connection between faith and health is important to the success of the participants in Faith in Prevention. As families move through the Faithful Families curriculum, they begin to consider how their physical health is directly connected to the faith they live out daily.
We, at the Camden Coalition, feel this is a great program that helps faith-based organizations. It is even better to hear from past participants that can tell us in their own words how the program has affected them and their attendees. Recently, Pastor Gomez of Potters House Church in Gloucester City, NJ reached out to us to let us know how the program has impacted his organization.
“This program has been very beneficial to our church. It taught us to make better choices, to eat out of the food groups, and to take better care of our bodies”, said Pastor Gomez. “The program was an eye opener to many of the participants. We had some members that had high blood pressure and high sugars. After participating in the program their rating went down.”
“The program has been a blessing to our church. We understand that it is not a temporary program; our goal is to continue the wellbeing of our members and everyone that is interested. We will continue to add this program to the church agenda during the years to come,” said Pastor Gomez.
Hearing the reflection from Potters House Church has made me feel proud of what I do every day, working with all the faith-based organizations and their members. I fell in love with this program because I have a chance to build relationships with the community and get to experience this life-changing event in people’s lives. I am excited that the funding from NJHCN will allow us to reach more congregations and share more stories about how this program has been a blessing to both the faith based organizations and their families.
Faith in Prevention is an ongoing program that allows faith-based organizations to participate for one year. We have a rolling acceptance for organizations that apply for the program. Applications are open now and will be collected until September 30, 2018. Priority entry into the program will be given to organizations that apply early.
About the Grantee
Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers is a non-profit coalition of Camden healthcare providers, community partners, and advocates, committed to elevating the health of patients facing the most complex medical and social challenges. We share a vision of a transformed healthcare system that ensures every individual receives whole-person care rooted in authentic healing relationships.