WUFT News

Increase In Salvation Army Health, Fitness Programs

By on September 6th, 2013

Lieutenant Preston Lewis hopes to expand the Salvation Army garden soon. He thinks that learning to grow food and eat healthy can have a positive long-term impact on children's lives.

Max Mattern / WUFT News

Lieutenant Preston Lewis hopes to expand the Salvation Army garden soon. He thinks that learning to grow food and eat healthy can have a positive long-term impact on children’s lives.

Jaelyn Hargrove and other children at the Salvation Army gained an opportunity Thursdasy afternoon not all kids her age get to have — access to healthy food.

Over the past five years, the Salvation Army’s health and fitness programs increased 65 percent across the U.S.

The Salvation Army is a charitable and religious organization that cares for the poor and homeless.

“People in poverty deserve access to health resources to combat obesity and live long lives,” wrote Commissioner William Roberts, National Commander for The Salvation Army. “The Salvation Army has grown its mission to encourage wellness for all — for the mind, body and soul.”

The Gainesville chapter has been no exception.

About a year ago, the local Salvation Army began installing an organic garden with the help of Florida Organic Growers. Within weeks, kids were planting their own fruits and vegetables.

“That was our response to the issue of wellness, to incorporate a healthy diet for all the kids,” said Lewis, one of the corps officers at the Gainesville chapter.

In the garden, greens, peas, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and even hot peppers have been planted by kids, for kids.

“I really love to pick what plants we grow,” said Hargrove, one of the children at the Gainesville location.

For the past two years, 11-year-old Hargrove has been a part of The Salvation Army and has loved every minute of it.

“It’s my favorite part of the day,” Hargrove said.

The sixth grader said she likes the healthy options here because she doesn’t always get them at school and home. She admitted, though, that chicken wings are an all-time favorite food.

At times, the Salvation Army will serve food like chicken tenders, but all meals will be supplemented with healthy options, such as fruit and vegetables.

“Balanced diet, sleep and exercise will help to keep kids staying healthy, and since we don’t have any gyms or workout rooms, we hone in on the balanced diet,” Lewis said.

The Salvation Army is considered one of the countryy’s top charities, with an average rating of “A-” on Charitywatch.org, which monitors charities’ giving.

One of the criteria for determining a top charity is whether at least 75 percent of its budget goes towards programming. In 2012, about 82 percent of Salvation Army expenses went towards programming, according to the Better Business Bureau.

On average, 61 percent of Salvation Army wellness programs have seen an increase  in demand worldwide over the past year. Community gardens, like the one in Gainesville, are ranked sixth among the 10 most popular programs, according to the Salvation Army’s “Wellness for All” report.

Lewis said he hopes to double the garden’s size soon.

“We are hoping that it changes a lifestyle,” he said. “We hope they will gain these practices to use in the future.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

One of the two community bedrooms in the new indoor dorm at Grace Marketplace.

Grace Marketplace To Open Indoor Shelter

Grace Marketplace will open an indoor dorm on Wednesday after submitting a Safety and Security policy to the city commission. The shelter will provide beds for 20 guests who are trying to transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. In order to stay [...]


Lester Poole, 94, is one of more than 170 residents at Ocala Health and Rehabilitation Center. The center as been steadily losing volunteers over the past year.

Lack of Volunteers Leave Elderly Looking for Conversation

Lester Poole has stories he may never get to tell. The 94-year-old served in the United States Coast Guard from 1939 to 1947, during which he traveled the globe and went wherever the tide took him. “South Africa. Brazil,” he [...]


Participants partake in a “color throw” following the race -  everyone in the audience tossed their color packets into the air at once. The result was a cloud of color that rose above the crowd, growing larger after the next color throw was conducted.

Kaleidoscope Tour’s Color Run Comes To Gainesville

The Kaleidoscope Tour visited Gainesville on Saturday for the 2014 edition of the Color Run. Nicknamed “The Happiest 5K On The Planet,” the run drew hundreds of participants.


Marion County Loses Bid For Veterans Nursing Home

Florida’s seventh nursing home for military veterans will be built in western Port St. Lucie. Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve $17 million in funding for the 120-bed facility, which will cost an [...]


Twins Jada and Jaelyn Weems spend their birthday holding signs during the vigil. They live close to Ocala Place Apartments, where some of the shootings have occurred.

Ocala Community Members Unite at Prayer Vigil

Ocala religious leaders and the Ocala Police Department organized a community prayer vigil to promote an end to the recent violence in the community. Four drive-by-shootings have left three injured since early September.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments