Earlier this year, Emeril Lagasse Foundation granted over $150,000 to Gulf Coast non-profits, including four New Orleans-based organizations. This week, the Foundation staff had the pleasure of visiting one of these inspiring organizations, Broad community Connections ReFresh Project.
Broad Community Connections (BCC) is a community development organization working to improve the health and vibrancy of the communities along Broad Street from Tulane Ave. to Bayou Rd. The neighborhoods along this stretch of Broad Street suffer some of the worst health disparities and have an average life expectancy 25 years less than some communities in other parts of New Orleans. They also have the highest rate of people living below the poverty line and chronic and diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes in the city.
BCC completed the development of The ReFresh Project in 2014, which is an innovative “Community Health Hub” and home to seven organizations working to improve community wellbeing through fresh food access, culinary and nutrition education, youth and workforce development, and community development. For over a year the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, SPROUT NOLA and Whole Foods Market have partnered to develop and implement on-site programming for local kids.
In 2015 ReFresh partners launched the first annual ReFresh Kids Camp. The camp is a free, weeklong camp for children from the surrounding communities ages 8 – 12. We spent the morning with the campers, where we learned gardening activities and lessons; nutrition education and cooking that incorporates garden harvest. We learned about photosynthesis while looking for spores on plants in the garden. In the kitchen, we learned to cook fresh, healthy foods from the garden that will later be served for lunch that day.
“It really is a great way to start the day," said Brian Kish, president of Emeril Lagasse Foundation "By going out and interacting with these kids, we remember what the purpose and mission of Emeril Lagasse Foundation is all about.
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation is proud to support organizations like ReFresh Project that are dedicated to helping youth to reach their fullest potential through culinary and nutrition education. Learn more about how you can get involved and support causes making a difference here.