Nurturing Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, and a Healthier Future

Garden kits in crates

Garden kits packed for distribution to families.

Written by: Elora Overbey, Grow Appalachia

Cigna Foundation Grant Furthers Berea Wellness Hub in Partnership with Berea Kids Eat

Grow Appalachia, a Strategic Initiative of Berea College, has received a $30,000 grant from the Cigna Foundation to work in partnership with school systems and the surrounding communities to supplement existing programming for children to help close nutrition gaps both within and outside of the school environment. The gift is part of the grant program, Healthier Kids For Our Future®, a five-year, $25 million global initiative focused on improving the health and well-being of children made possible by Cigna and the Cigna Foundation.

Grow Appalachia’s Berea Kids Eat Program has worked directly in Berea since 2016 to fight childhood hunger, increase healthy food access and support community food resiliency. To date, the program has served more than 400,000 meals to youth while supporting health and wellness initiatives and food security programming for low-income communities.

Bags of food in crates

Cooking kits prepared for distribution to families.

“We’re really excited that Cigna has helped to fully braid together all the goals of Berea Kids Eat, which is not just about reducing food insecurity but also increasing healthy food access by building food skills at the household level for the future,” said Martina Leforce, coordinator of Berea Kids Eat.

Continue reading Nurturing Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, and a Healthier Future

‘Berea Kids Eat’ program feeds thousands of families for free

Martina Leforce distributing food in crates

Berea Kids Eat coordinator Martina Leforce ’07 preparing meals for children in the local community. Taken March 25, 2020.
(Photo: Crystal Wylie ’05)

By Jacqueline Nie
Originally posted on LEX18.com

When the pandemic hit Kentucky in March and schools were suddenly closed, children that relied on the USDA’s school lunch program were in turmoil after losing access to nutritious food.

The “Berea Kids Eat” program at Berea College responded and rallied together, serving up meals from local restaurants.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, there is a long line of cars, picking up breakfast and lunch for free.

Continue reading ‘Berea Kids Eat’ program feeds thousands of families for free

Grow Appalachia to Leverage Nearly $1 million for Southeastern Kentucky Local Foods Economy

BEREA, KY, September 30, 2016 – Grow Appalachia is excited to announce that they will be leveraging private and federal funds totaling nearly $1 million to impact Southeastern Kentucky Promise Zone and Strike Force counties. As a program of Berea College, Grow Appalachia will work with partners throughout the Southeastern Kentucky region to strengthen year-round growing efforts, agricultural economic development, and local food networks. Continue reading Grow Appalachia to Leverage Nearly $1 million for Southeastern Kentucky Local Foods Economy

“Grow Appalachia” is growing

On June 27, John Paul Dejoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell Systems and the main funder of Grow Appalachia, donated to two partner organizations: Growing Warriors and the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program (BGDP) Farm, while visiting central Kentucky. Grow Appalachia, a program administered by Berea College, teaches and supports the people of Appalachia in addressing hunger in the region by growing and preserving their own foods. Continue reading “Grow Appalachia” is growing