Turning a negative into a positive
Plans had been made and were in place for our first “Worktoberfest” job fair for members of our special needs community. The event was to be held on Saturday, October 16th at our local VFW Hall. We had been working with a great group of volunteers who assisted with the organization and planning of the event. We also enlisted the help of some high school art students to create a beautiful flyer to be distributed to local businesses. The Nutley Chamber of Commerce allowed us to attend a meeting to introduce the program and recruit business owners. It was received very favorably at the time, but unfortunately due to staffing issues at so many businesses, there was not enough physical representation to pull off a successful event. To say that we were devastated was putting it mildly. Those of us behind the scenes, as well as the targeted population and their families were so disappointed, but we have not given up! We will be going door to door to all the businesses in town to reintroduce the event and to get their input on dates and times. Obviously, participation from the local businesses is key, and we will need to do our best work around their schedules. With the Holidays on the horizon, it looks like this event will have to be pushed back into the new year. With that said, we reached out to our funders to brainstorm regarding completing this grant cycle. We came to the mutual decision that we should upgrade our existing Community Garden to make it more handicap accessible for our special needs community. We will be regrading the entrance, installing wheelchair accessible garden beds and push back the fenced in area to include an exhibit/entertainment space. We would also like to extend the use of the garden to the schools as an outdoor classroom to hold math, science, history, and art classes. Of course, all that will have to be approved by the Board of Education. We have also played around with the idea of having the kitchen in the AmVets building (which owns the property on which the garden was built) certified to give the gardeners the opportunity to can or prepare their produce for sale…perhaps that is a submission for the 2021-2022 grant cycle!
About the Grantee
The mission of the Nutley Health Department is to protect and enhance the health and the quality of life of Nutley residents through preventative activities, coordination of interagency efforts, and interventions designed to promote positive health behaviors. Health education and awareness is a vital component of the Health Department.