United Way of Greater Union County Joins the Movement to Build a Culture of Health

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Healthy Plainfield

Establishing A Healthy Plainfield

As a mission-driven health and human services organization, our priorities lie in identifying and addressing the needs of the community in Greater Union County,  in order to create a better quality of life. In partnership with the City of Plainfield, United Way of Greater Union County secured funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through New Jersey Health Initiatives for a planning grant that includes a blueprint for establishing a Healthy Plainfield for people of all ages and abilities.

Together with the Plainfield Mayor’s Office, Plainfield Health Department and over 30 leaders in the community, we have begun the extraordinary work that lies ahead in identifying barriers towards a healthy lifestyle, assets in the community that support health outcomes, gaps in services, and resources available so that collaboratively we can achieve sustainable health changes in the Plainfield community.

United Way in attendance at New Jersey Health Initiatives New Grantee Kickoff Meeting in July 2016

To date, we have a working group representative of various lead organizations in Plainfield, and have participated in Boundary Spanning techniques training led by RWJF to build the capacity of the community to work collectively towards solutions. We are in the process of developing an asset map, have developed a survey to secure resident input, identified questions for a series of focus groups, and we are finishing an analysis of existing data. In the meantime, the need to address food insecurity in Plainfield, UWGUC is working with local food groups, the Plainfield school district, and senior advocacy groups to provide emergency food to families in need, better understand this issue, and to develop a long-term strategy to end hunger in Plainfield.

In October, we met with the Mayor’s Office and representatives from the Health Department to provide an update on the development of the blueprint for a Healthy Plainfield. At the conclusion of our discussion, the consensus for all those involved was that we are excited about what we will do for all residents in Plainfield. We are establishing a taskforce to support the development of the blueprint. Subcommittees will be formed that will include among others, an age-friendly committee to address barriers for older adults in successfully aging in place.

James Horne
United Way of Greater Union County