Delaware Cooperative Extension, a collaboration between the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, launched a survey in May 2018 that measured the needs of the communities by surveying internal and external stakeholders. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of 13 state-level issues, and then more specifically, issues concerning topics such as economic development, leadership development, health, and agriculture and the environment. Eighty-four percent of participants reported “Preventing Chronic Disease” as a very important issue. When asked specifically about health issues in the community, respondents ranked the “Availability of Physical Activity Programs” as a very important health issue. Respondents were also asked to rank their priorities for research and training topics. “Preparing Healthy and Safe Food,” “Physical Activity,”
“Healthy Behaviors and Dietary Practices,” and “Healthy Foods on a Budget” as top priorities for community training topics.
As a response to this and many other community health needs assessments, the Sussex County Health Coalition (SCHC) and the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Service (UDCES), work together to address community needs around health and financial wellness. Programs are held twice monthly in various host community organizations in Georgetown and Seaford. Programs are typically held in a “lunch and learn” format, spanning from 45 minutes to one hour, beginning at 12 pm. In addition to the educational program, a folder of helpful resources and materials is provided to each participant, as well as a healthy lunch. Lunch and learns are currently offered to community members free of charge through funding from the Delaware Division of Public Health.
The UDCES offers programs that cover a variety of healthrelated and financial wellness topics including: Food safety for the home kitchen, cooking classes for diabetics (or those caring for diabetics), osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s Disease prevention through diet, celiac disease, healthy meal preparation for small families (1-2 people), making mealtime special, preparing and freezing meals in bulk, whole grains, healthy meals in less time
using slow cookers and pressure cookers, fad diets, what to do with leftover foods, reading the new nutrition facts label, sodium, decoding food label terms (i.e. organic, local, non- GMO, etc.), vegan and vegetarian diets, how to talk to your doctor, mindfulness, health insurance, reducing debt, saving on a tight budget, creating a retirement paycheck, managing family resources, aging parent’s finances, and financial empowerment training.
If your organization is located in Sussex County and would like to serve as a host site for a lunch and learn program, please contact Crystal Timmons Underwood at email@example.com.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a UDCES volunteer to help with community health and financial wellness outreach, please contact Nancy Mears, Sussex County Coordinator, Family & Consumer Sciences, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, at 302-856-7303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.