Fueling minds and bodies: The Power of Produce

By Stephanie Skordas, Director of Communications

High Point children enrolled in the Power of Produce (PoP) club come running when the High Point Public Library bookmobile rolls up to their neighborhood. Each time they visit, they get an activity and tokens to spend at the Growing High Point “Growdega.” Thanks to a generous donation from the High Point Community Foundation, they also receive a book to add to their home libraries courtesy of Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) and The Basics Guilford.

“We’ve donated 600 books to this initiative, and paired the book themes to fruits, vegetables, and healthy eating,” said Ready Ready Literacy Coordinator Megan LeFaivre. “We’re excited to help the library and the Growdega to educate children about how they can use great fruits and vegetables to help their bodies grow stronger.”

The High Point Public Library introduced the free children’s program in the summer of 2020 and has made it a year-round event. The bookmobile visits five locations every other week, Tuesday through Friday to share information about upcoming events and the library, books, and activities. Children in the program receive three tokens each visit, which they can use to purchase fresh, organic produce.

“We take vacant lots in the city of High Point and turn them into farms,” said Amanda Mitchell, Growing High Point’s food hub manager. “We team up with the bookmobile so children can purchase fruits and vegetables. We get a lot of questions. Sometimes people ask how do I cook the zucchini or what’s the difference between a turnip and a beet. So we educate children about recipes and what they can do with different items.”

Story continues after the video:

At Laurelwood Apartments, where we caught up with the bookmobile and Growdega, micro greens and ginger were the items that caught much of the children’s interest.

“The kids really like the theme of fruits and vegetables and connecting them with the books Ready Ready provided and the produce they can buy with their tokens,” said High Point Library Outreach Manager Karen Idol. “We have a pretty consistent turnout from our club members and we can always sign up new ones.”

PoP Club was created by the Oregon City, Oregon farmer’s market in 2011 and has spread to farmer’s markets across the nation.

Ready for School, Ready for Life awards funding for Guilford County doula program

(Greensboro, N.C., July 17, 2023) – In Guilford County, 45 out of 5,927 babies born in 2020 did not survive their first year. Shockingly, Black infants accounted for 60 percent of these deaths, revealing significant racial disparities. Guilford County’s infant mortality rate is nearly 10 percent higher than the state average and 34 percent higher than the national average.

To address these concerning statistics, Ready for School, Ready for Life (Ready Ready) has awarded Every Baby Guilford nearly $38,000 to establish a countywide doula program. The grant will enable Every Baby Guilford to provide trained doula care to expectant parents, aiming to reduce the high infant mortality rates in Guilford County.

Charrise Hart, CEO of Ready Ready, expressed enthusiasm for the countywide initiative, stating, “Ready Ready collaborates with and supports community partners to create a comprehensive system of care for Guilford County’s youngest children and their families. We are proud to support Every Baby Guilford’s goal of reducing infant mortality disparities by 50 percent within the next three years. Funding the countywide doula program, which focuses on promoting healthy minority pregnancies and births, plays a critical role in achieving this objective.”

Every Baby Guilford will hire a doula coordinator and contract with five doulas who have received evidence-based training and certification. Together, they will provide prenatal, birthing, and postpartum support to 60 expectant families. Additionally, the doulas will collaborate with the YWCAs in Greensboro and High Point to offer support to pregnant individuals of color participating in home-visiting programs.

“We are grateful for Ready Ready’s financial support,” said Every Baby Guilford Executive Director Jean Workman. “This funding will enhance our countywide doula program, ensuring sustainable support for mothers and birthing individuals, regardless of their ability to pay. Additionally, the funds will facilitate the establishment of a learning collaborative, offering doulas valuable education and business support through mentorship.”

“Every child deserves a great start in life, but not every child starts from the same place,” added Hart. “By supporting children from the prenatal stage to age 8 through partnerships like Every Baby Guilford, we aim to provide Guilford County families with the necessary resources, information, and support to thrive, prepare for kindergarten, and achieve success in school by the third grade.”

Media Contact: Stephanie Skordas, stephanies@getreadyguilford.org