Food Bank Receives $1.1 Million W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grant to Improve Literacy and Health Equity in MS Children

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Mississippi Food Network (MFN) has begun a three-year project to improve health equity and literacy in children ages 2-10 in the diverse communities of Jackson, East Biloxi and Sunflower County in Mississippi.

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We are thrilled to receive this grant to help us continue to expand our role not only in improving the health status of children in these low-income communities, but to also strengthen the literacy rate, which contributes to overall health outcomes.

Mississippi Food Network (MFN) has begun a three-year project to improve health equity and literacy in children ages 2-10 in the diverse communities of Jackson, East Biloxi and Sunflower County in Mississippi. The project is designed to empower these communities to effect change through the practical application of knowledge and resources using evidence-based programming to improve health equity, literacy rates, and overall quality of life.

The project, Thriving Communities, Thriving Children II (TCTC2), is funded by a $1.14 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant to help us continue to expand our role not only in improving the health status of children in these low-income communities, but to also strengthen the literacy rate, which contributes to overall health outcomes. These children not only experience higher rates of obesity but also disparities in health care, access to quality education and inequities in neighborhood and school environments,” said Dr. Charles Beady, Chief Executive Officer of MFN, a statewide food banking organization that is a member of the Feeding America national network of food banks.

TCTC2 will expand previous school and community-based obesity prevention programming (also funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) in Mississippi and address literacy issues in the Early Childhood and at-home setting. The evidence-based OrganWise Guys model will be used as the intervention tool to provide consistent, proven messaging.

The TCTC2 model derives from the only school-based study to show statistically significant improvements in weight, blood pressure and waist circumference measures, as well as higher average standardized test scores of program children as compared to children who did not participate in the program interventions.

“The Mississippi Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (MS CGLR) is thrilled to provide expertise and instructional guidance as a partner with TCTC2 to help promote healthier, more literate futures for Mississippi children and families,” said Ashley Sheils, Director of the MS CGLR.

“We are so thankful for the long-term support the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has provided towards this effort. TCTC2 will allow us to expand on the successful obesity prevention programming which continues to flourish in Mississippi and also address the crucial need to improve literacy skills for these vulnerable children,” said Dr. Michelle Lombardo, President of The OrganWise Guys Inc. in Atlanta, GA.

About Mississippi Food Network
Mississippi Food Network began in 1984 as a food bank warehouse facility to accumulate, store and distribute food and household items for charities that would make the final distribution to needy people in the community. That first year the startup nonprofit distributed 139,000 pounds of food and grocery products. Today, some 18.5 million pounds of food are distributed, through MFN’s network of 430 statewide agencies, serving more than 150,000 people each month.

MFN’s mission is to relieve poverty-related hunger in its service area by distributing donated and purchased food and grocery products through a network of member churches and nonprofit organizations. They also provide nutrition education to needy clients and emphasize advocacy and related needs. For more information, visit http://www.msfoodnet.org.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit http://www.wkkf.org.

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