Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans Receives $25,000 Grant from the Walmart Foundation to Benefit Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Children

New Orleans, LA (April 28, 2016) – Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans is honored to announce that the Walmart Foundation has granted $25,000 to the organization's Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Children project, an initiative of Volunteers of America's Fresh Food Factor Program. Funds will be used to support nutrition and healthy lifestyle education among approximately 800 disadvantaged, low-income children and their families in Orleans Parish.

More than 35 percent of New Orleans households live in asset poverty, which contributes greatly to hunger, malnutrition and obesity. Louisiana has been identified as having the 6th highest obesity rate in the country and the 4th highest obesity rate for children. In an effort to improve these statistics, Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans will utilize this grant to combine in-school meals provided by Fresh Food Factor with healthy eating education. The project will help children understand appropriate portion sizes and proper nutrition, teach them about goal setting and decision making, and increase their understanding of stressors and coping skills, including the use of exercise to improve well-being and temper.

Research shows that proper nutrition increases children's ability to learn, decreases school absences and illness, and improves behavior, causing fewer disruptions in the classroom. To that end, Volunteers of America launched its Fresh Food Factor program in 2013 and partnered with public and charter schools, summer camps and Head Start programs in the Greater New Orleans area to provide healthy, nutritionally balanced meal and snack options.

"Our children's health and nutrition affects virtually ever other aspect of their lives. By enhancing the nutrition education component of the Fresh Food Factor Program through the Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Children project, we hope to improve our children's eating habits and reduce obesity, which will in turn boost academic and social success and set them up for a brighter future," says Jim LeBlanc, President and CEO of Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans.

The project will also introduce healthy lifestyle education into the homes of low-income families, equipping them with tools to improve their shopping skills through budgeting and purchasing seasonal fruits and vegetables; equipping them with tasty, low-cost recipes; and advising them on cooking and food safety skills.

For more information about Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans, please visit www.voagno.org.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men returning from prison, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Our work touches the mind, body, heart-and ultimately the spirit-of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services.