CUMBERLAND — Representatives from Sun Life will be at the farmer’s market on the downtown mall Thursday morning to present the Western Maryland Health System with a grant for $100,000 for its diabetes awareness program.
The health system’s program is one of five community organizations around the country Sun Life U.S. is supporting for this year’s Team Up Against Diabetes grant program.
Winners are chosen for their programs and initiatives supporting diabetes prevention, management and education, as well as healthy living and nutrition for local communities in need.
Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss will be on hand for the presentation, which will take place at 9:45 a.m. In addition, there will be games for children, cooking demonstrations and stress management activities, as well as information on WMHS programs and health screenings.
“We are so pleased to continue supporting many different grassroots organizations around the country since starting this program three years ago,” said Dr. Dan Fishbein, president of Sun Life U.S. “We have been strongly committed to diabetes awareness and education for several years, and these grant winners show the same commitment and dedication to supporting the needs of diabetes patients and those at risk.”
Poor access to healthy, nutritious foods puts adults at a 50 percent higher risk for developing diabetes. The health system’s food security program aims to prevent the risk by assessing and streamlining a sustainable approach to combating the problem. With this grant funding, the program will be able to screen 2,400 at-risk individuals to assess their need for cooking equipment, vouchers for healthy foods from local pantries, healthy living workshops and access to dieticians and wellness programs.
Additionally, the food security program will focus on monthly community outreach events that include risk assessments, cooking demonstrations and physical activities. In the long term, the program will develop a process to identify health gaps, recruit community partners and integrate into county health and human service networks.
WMHS has also addressed underserved populations with the Hometown Healthy outreach program, which aims to help at-risk populations make more informed health care decisions.