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Crow Wing Energized: How healthy are you?

Crow Wing Energized in collaboration with University of Minnesota Extension, Crow Wing County RSVP, and Second Harvest Food Bank has been working with local food shelves.

I know I wish I had more time to exercise or it was easier to lose weight. In talking to my family and friends I am not alone. Although excuses, even good ones, can come easy; it is difficult to do the work to make changes to be healthier.

I am fortunate that every day my job is to work with nearly 200 volunteers in our community that are dedicated to improving the health and wellness of themselves and others.

In the year and half that Crow Wing Energized, a grassroots effort co-led by Essentia Health and Crow Wing County Community Services and funded in part by Statewide Health Improvement Program, has existed we have provided, structure, funding and support to work that is taking place in Crow Wing County and surrounding areas that addresses physical inactivity, health eating, mental health, and tobacco reduction efforts along with cessation education, and many more areas that our neighbors, family members and co-workers struggle with every day.

Through recent research specific to Crow Wing County, Crow Wing Energized volunteers and I have the data that validates the work we are doing and provides direction on future efforts.

In that health survey it was found that one in three adults in Crow Wing County have worried about food running out during the past 12 months

A great example of supporting the data we received is that Crow Wing Energized in collaboration with University of Minnesota Extension, Crow Wing County RSVP, and Second Harvest Food Bank has been working with local food shelves including:

- Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army

- Cuyuna Range

- Crosslake Emergency

- Emily Area

- First Baptist Church, Baxter

- Garrison Emergency

- Garrison Area Care Givers

- Lakes Area in Pequot Lakes

To help them organize their food shelf to showcase and promote healthy choice first, we have collaboratively developed a shopping list to highlight grains, proteins and fruits and vegetables the local food shelves need more of so they cannot only provide food, but food that will positively impact the health of the person receiving it.

At this event cash donations are also welcomed. In fact, did you know that for every dollar donated, the food shelves are able to provide five meals for those in need?

Through the local food shelf coalition that meets the first Monday of each month, the group has come up with a specific event they will host to propel this group's efforts. The event - coming June 19 - promotes donating funds and healthy foods to your local food shelf. Watch for a fishing boat parked at your local grocery store and consider filling it with items from the healthy shopping list.

When you are buying an item or two to place in the boat from the healthy foods list, consider changing out a sugary item in your cart for a healthy one as well - to impact the health of your own household. You can utilize the healthy shopping list that will be provided to support helping making the healthy choice the easy choice!

This is just one of the great examples of the tangible work I am blessed to do every day to assist in making our community healthier and engage everyone in this journey. There are more than 40 other projects Crow Wing Energized is helping to fund and coordinate. To get involved visit our website, email me at , or call me 218-821-6975.

Cassie Carey, Crow Wing Energized coordinator, is a registered nurse and certified health coach with the National Diabetes Prevention Program who has 10 years experience in health education, physical education and coaching.