Day two of my journey with Volunteer Odyssey was at Church Health Center. I had heard of it before, however not being from the area I’ve always assumed that it was simply small medical clinic run by a local church; boy was I wrong! When I first drove into the facility, my first thought was that I was at the wrong place. I’d been imagining a small brick building, much like a doctor’s office. In reality, the Church Health Center facility that I had the privilege of volunteering in today is a large, two story building with lots of windows and natural light.
During the summer months every year, the health center hosts a weekly farmers market in their courtyard. It is open not only to the members of the center, but also to the general public. They can shop for locally grown produce, homemade bread, along with all sorts of other local goodies. The day that I was volunteering at the center, also happened to be the kickoff day for this year’s market.On this particular day, there happened to be a couple of health food vendors in attendance which was perfect for me considering I have a thing for food trucks as it is! This being said, naturally, I had to try something. I decided on a green smoothie from the “smoothie lady” and it was amazing! The farmers market is open every Tuesday during the summer months, so you have plenty of opportunities to stop by and shop around, and be sure to grab a green smoothie during your visit!
After finishing my smoothie, I went inside and got to work as I had been assigned to help in the nutrition center. They were hosting a luncheon for a local church group that was interested in learning more about the services that the Nutrition center has available. You may be wondering the same thing, right? I know I was. They offer a variety of different programs, with the most popular being their cooking demonstration classes. These demonstrations are held several times a week, and are aimed at teaching the participants recipes that are not only healthy, but also cost effective and can be easily incorporated into their weekly routines. Carolyn, who leads the demonstrations, explained to me that her goal is to keep an entire meal; dessert included believe it or not, under 600 calories! On this particular day, the meal that was demonstrated and then served to everyone in attendance totaled only 523 calories. I could not believe it! Trust me when I say, we weren’t simply serving a “deck of cards” sized piece of dried out chicken alongside a cup of green beans, which by the way is how my personal version of a healthy meal usually ends up. Instead the menu consisted of a spring salad with a vinaigrette dressing, orange glazed chicken, healthy, and might I add delicious, fried rice, steamed broccoli, and then for the finale, drum roll please…..banana raspberry squares! Each and every part of the meal was amazing, while the demonstration was also extremely informative. All classes are offered to members of the center, however some classes are open to the public as well. You can stop by and see Carolyn anytime to get a schedule of all the classes.
Carolyn and her staff are teaching participants easy and economical ways to cook in a healthy manner. These small changes are something that can make a huge impact on the health of a community as a whole. Not to mention all of the other programs the center offers; yoga classes, a full gym, and a therapeutic swimming pool, just to name a few. This organization is doing amazing things to help the members of our local community become healthier as a whole. It is such a privilege that these services are available to everyone, including families who might not be able to pay for a gym membership at a local athletic club. If you are in the area I strongly suggest you take a minute to swing by and check out the Church Health Center. It will be well worth your time to take a look around and see the amazing things they have available.
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