ALBANY, Ga. -- The Emory Prevention Research Center (EPRC), along with local partners, including the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia, recently awarded $17,000 in grants to various faith-based organizations in the region, officials with the Cancer Coalition have announced.
The mini-grants were awarded as part of the "Prevention Strategies That Work" program funded through the EPRC Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network.
The recipients were five organizations located in Albany, Pelham, Sparks and Valdosta.
The purpose behind the grants, officials say, will be for the organizations receiving them to make healthy choices the easier choices for those they serve. Toward that end, the sites are expected to implement "proven and promising" strategies for nutrition, physical activity and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
The recipients were Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Albany, House of Grace in Sparks, New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church in Albany, Serenity Christian Church in Valdosta and Union Grove Baptist Church in Pelham.
The changes they implement may include offering healthy foods and beverages at events, limiting unhealthy food options, promoting use of places to exercise and implementing tobacco-free policies at organizational events, officials say.
"....Through the mini-grant 'Prevention Strategies that Work,' we have established primary goals to implement comprehensive smoke-free policies (indoor & outdoor) throughout the church campus and healthy eating initiatives," a statement provided by New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church said. "The vision for implementation of this grant is to have churches and communities working together in order to overcome the burden of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and lung cancer that disproportionately plague our community. Since there is a high prevalence of these chronic diseases in our community, the need is great.
"We can better serve our church and community by integrating the proposed strategies into the lives of the community we serve...."
Each recipient organization received between $1,000-$4,000 for expenses over the course of a year, and will also receive staff assistance from Emory to change their settings and organizational policies.
"The Emory Prevention Research Center is excited to partner with such enthusiastic faith-based organizations with volunteers dedicated to changing their community settings to promote healthy lifestyles," Dr. Michelle Kegler, director of the EPRC, said in a news release. "Since 2006, we have offered over $94,000 to more than 20 community organizations.
"We have learned so much from these communities about the real life issues of promoting health, and we hope they have also benefited from our collaborations to serve their communities."
The program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute.