Partnerships for Inspirational Ideas to Get Millville Moving

NJHI 2020: Small Communities Forging Hyperlocal Data Collaboratives Addressing Community Food Insecurity

Doing community work can be hard. Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with creative projects that will engage the community. When our team at Holly City Development Corporation (HCDC) needs inspiration, we look to our partners. Libraries are a hub of resources for communities, but the mind of the librarian is the most useful resource of all. Our Library Director at the Millville Public Library, Courtenay Reece has been deemed the “Programming Queen.” The library is a partner in our community collaborative’s work to address food insecurity. They actively participate with a monthly nutritional snack kit for kids program that teaches children ways they can enjoy snacks that taste good, such as a banana snowman or peanut butter and jelly “sushi.” Kids must pre-register and can pick up their snack kits that includes enough “fixins” for four people. In addition, the library installed a flex garden this month, which means it is an indoor growing system that will allow them to cultivate lettuce that they can share with their patrons. Hopefully it will spark the interest of community members who to want to grow their own produce.

Another fun collaborative program the library implemented is “March into May,” which is a collaboration between the library, HCDC and the Holly City Family Center that is our local fitness center. It features a game board that has blocks for each week starting in March and ending May 7. Each week, there are activities that represent the theme “Engage, Learn and Move.” Examples of this are:

  • Check out a health-related magazine from the library,
  • Take a free Zumba class, and
  • Volunteer in the community garden.

Each activity that players complete will be recorded on the game board and qualify them for incentives, including a health passport, reusable tote bag, and a make-and-take garden. We hope this program will be embraced by our community and that it will get them out of the winter doldrums and moving again. To learn more or follow along, connect with us.

The Grantee Blog regularly publishes updates from NJHI-supported communities. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Lisa Caraway
Holly City Development Corporation