On Wednesday, June 12, students and their families were seen enjoying themselves as they received a free meal, listened to stories, and played some games on the campus of the Deerfield (1127 W. Eighth St.) in New Richmond as part of Summer Health Initiative in Nutrition and Engagement (S.H.I.N.E.) kickoff event.
"It's a great example of community and intergenerational engagement," said S.H.I.N.E. committee member, Jill Leahy.
S.H.I.N.E. got its start when a team made up of Westfields Hospital and Clinic Foundation employees, New Richmond School District staff, and TDhe Deerfield employees developed an idea to help fill the gap after the school announced it is no longer eligible for the daily free and reduced summer lunch program.
The kickoff event saw 33 children partake in the meal as well as play ball and read in the shade next to the community garden at The Deerfield, according to Westfields Hospital and Clinic Foundation Director Jo Wrich.
During a monthly community discussion group for the enhancement of healthy living in New Richmond, District Supervisor of Nutrition Bobbie Guyette shared that many of the neighborhoods surrounding Westfields and The Deerfield are eligible but not the district as a whole. This inspired other members of the discussion group to take action and develop a program which not only includes a food component but also education, social and physical components.
Guyette, Greg Kier (Starr Elementary fifth grade teacher), Jacob Hunt (Westfields Community Health Coordinator), Jill Leahy (Westfields Hospital Foundation) and Jackie Waalen (Deerfield) brainstormed and the name S.H.I.N.E. was born. This program will be held every Wednesday through Aug. 21 at The Deerfield near to the community garden. The Westfields food trailer will be on site with free cold lunches for students under the age of 18. Adults may purchase a lunch for $2.
The Friday Memorial Library and Kiwanis-New Richmond members will be on hand to read and check out books for students. Various activities and games are also available. Any Deerfield residents who are willing and able are welcome to attend and engage with the young families and students.