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"More people need to know about what needs to be done about hunger."

Posted on Tue, Sep 14, 2010

“I would like to spread the word about hunger issue in the Bronx so able people or institutions in our community can help and support the needy in our community. More people need to know about what needs to be done about hunger. If it’s one thing I learned here; it’s that every little things count. So reach out to your community. Like me, you will feel you’ve made a difference.” Shalanda Gilliam , Secretary, “The Fall Back” Group

In addition to caring for the spiritual needs of the community, Christ Disciples International Ministries, Inc., (CDIM) also pays significant attention to the health and social needs of the people in the society in which its programs operate.

In a holistic approach that utilizes several intervention methods including counseling, health education, technology utilization, information exchange and food distribution, among others; over the years, CDIM has established service linkages with a number of organizations in New York State, particularly, those in New York City and has partnered with them to serve and still is serving the under-served of our community, one family at a time.

A few weeks ago, we joined with Word of Life International, Inc., The Children Aid Society, SOBRO and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and designed assortments of health and food service programs for the Bronx residents.  We engaged forty youths 14-21 years old - 95% from the Bronx - as workers. For about ten weeks, they offered essential human services to more than 800 needy people.

Along with 95,000 units of nutritional food packages, which the youths distributed free of charge to the community, they also devoted no less than a combined 250 hours to acquire essential skills in  research, socialization, job readiness, public speaking, computer utilization, among other  uncountable benefits.

The following are a few testimonies (unedited) that are representative of the experiences and feelings of all forty of the participants:

“My name is Shalanda Gilliam. For the last two months, I’ve been working in the program through the Summer Youth program Employment Program (SYEP) contracted to SOBRO by New York City Department of Youth and Community Services (DYCD). We were altogether forty youths aged 14 through 21 years. Our goal was to reach out to our community with information on the risks factors of obesity, asthma, childhood lead poisoning and drug abuse. We were split into five groups including my group - “The Fall Backs” – which coordinated the activities of four other groups. We chose to name our group: “The Fall Backs” because at the beginning of the program, we were all at ease and laid back.  We researched information on the health issue assigned to us and were able to create brochures and share our knowledge with the people around us.  Another responsibility of our group was to organize the health fair in which the other groups would present and share the information they have obtained with the Bronx residents.

 In the program, I was introduced to situations that I wasn’t aware even existed. I knew we had hungry people in the Bronx, but not to the extent that I saw on long lines on Saturdays. Sincerely, until the Saturday foods distribution, I never saw such long lines, full with hungry people. There were lines as long as three blocks. It was sad and scary to later find out that the services we were providing were becoming scarcer by the day; supplies were getting smaller. Even though it seemed like we gave out a lot of food, there were still people with ever-increasing need of food.

I would like to spread the word about hunger issue in the Bronx so able people or institutions in our community can help and support the needy in our community. More people need to know about what needs to be done about hunger. If it’s one thing I learned here; it’s that every little things count. So reach out to your community.  Like me, you will feel you’ve made a difference. “ShalandaGilliam - Secretary, “The Fall Back” Group

Cynthia Richards

“In my group I leaned about obesity. People can become obese in many ways, for example if people uncontrollably eat big portions of food that will become obese. I also learned about Body Mass Index (BMI). When it is high for one’s age, weight and height, the person is considered obese.

 I also learned about food pantry. It’s a place where different people come to get food. I learned about how much work you have to do to get ready for an event. All together my group did a lot of research on obesity and distributed several boxes of food to the needy in our community.”

Ashley Urbina

“Before coming to Word of Life, I had a simple understanding of obesity and its side effects. Over the few weeks that I've spent on this work site I have come to learn more about Obesity. One of the fascinating things that I've learned about Obesity is how obesity is diagnosed. To determine whether or not someone is obese a BMI (Body Mass Index) is used. Simply put a BMI is a compilation of data which attach a "suggested" Body weight to a height. So in order to determine whether or not you are obese you would simply check a BMI age, weight and height.”

Ofonime

“Hello, my name Ofonime. Nutrition was something I knew about. During health classes I learned about having a balanced diet. I knew that nutrition was important but nutrition comes into play for many things especially your health. I learned after this program that nutrition is not complete without exercise. Exercise in moderation and eating different colored fruits and vegetables is very beneficial to your health. Some can prevent prostate cancer and high blood pressure. This will come in very handy when I become older.

 In addition, I learned to work hard in everything you do, because if you put in 100% you will eventually be given 100% back. I enjoyed the company of my peers and my employers.” 

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