"Children need to live the lives for which they were created."
Children need to live the lives for which they were created.
-Rev. Eileen Lindner
Food is about love, caring, and sharing. It's also about helping those in need.
-Sam Kass, Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives
I don't usually get too worked up about meetings. There are a lot of them, for one thing. However, it's highly unusual that I need to submit extensive personal information for a background check and then submit to three different security screenings just to get into the building. This one was worth looking forward to, for many reasons.
The invitation to meet with the First Lady's staff regarding the faith community's role in the Let's Move! campaign to end childhood obesity came as a result of my participation on the National Council of Churches Health Task Force. This is a wonderful way for me to stay connected with other faith leaders working on wellness and health issues in their respective denominations. The NCC Health Task Force was invited as part of a larger Faith United to End Childhood Obesity initiative. Many of the leaders of this group have also been instrumental in Faith United Against Tobacco and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, where NEHM has also been a longtime partner.
We were welcomed by Jocelyn Frye from the Office of the First Lady. I was pleased to learn that Ms. Frye is a deacon in her own church. Ms. Frye indicated that Michelle Obama had become passionate about issues of health as a direct result of conversations with her pediatrician about her own children's health. She also noted that the "faith communities have the ability to impact fundamental change on a personal level."
One Action You Can Take Right Now:
Marissa Duswalt, Associate Director of Policy & Events at Let's Move! Office of the First Lady, facilitated further discussion, soliciting ideas from the group about potential programs that would be helpful to congregations and the best methods for sharing these ideas. Heidi Christenson of the HHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships shared new resources that have recently been developed for the faith-based and community leaders partnership.
Sam Kass, Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, expressed his desire to engage faith communities at a deeper level on this important issue and pledged to help us find and develop models that would be useful for us. I think everyone in the room felt like this was an excellent beginning to developing a deeper relationship between faith communities and the Let's Move! campaign.
There will be more to come in the future, but I am excited to share with you new resources that we were made aware of at the meeting. This was a really exciting affirmation of the good work that our parishes are doing around the country. Our ministry is so important to issues of food, exercise and health and these resources are a significant contribution to our efforts. Be sure to read this post for new resources for your health ministry!
Special thanks to Vinny DeMarco, Andrew Hysell, Rev. Eileen Lindner, the Let's Move! staff, and Save The Children for their roles in making this meeting happen!