Source: New Jersey Herald
Eight New Jersey municipalities have been cited as “Healthy Towns” for going above and beyond to address community health needs this past year.
The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute launched the Healthy Towns Initiative in 2006 in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. The Mayors Wellness Campaign made the selections from over 400 participating communities.
The campaign gave special emphasis to addressing food insecurity, helping residents stay physically and mentally active, and other actions aimed at mitigating the effects of COVID-19 and governmental responses to it.
In alphabetical order, here are the first four honorees:
ASBURY PARK, like many Jersey Shore towns, took an economic hit from the pandemic but overcame these barriers to earn top honors by supporting local food pantries, worked with county health officials to provide COVID-19 testing for city and county residents. It also set up a Ryde4Life program offering free on-demand transportation through Lyft and Uber to senior citizens, people with disabilities and others needing a ride to doctor appointments and food shopping.
The Philadelphia suburb of EVESHAM TOWNSHIP, also known as Marlton, partnered with health care providers to offer programs on coping with stress. It also formed a volunteer Human Rights Council to “bolster the increasing number of Americans across the nation joining the fight against inequality and injustice.”
MONTCLAIR received Healthy Town honors for the third year in a row by continuing its previously launched health and wellness programs. The township expanded remote access to these programs for older adults. It also offered food distribution to residents over 60 so they could stay safely in their homes. Through a Community Farms Coalition, the township took additional steps to keep residents active while addressing food insecurity.
PATERSON, the state’s third largest city kicked off the Mayor’s Walk To The Great Falls, an event that saw more than 200 residents and schoolchildren accompanied mayor Andre Sayegh on a group walk to the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. “Our focus has been on the mental and physical health of Patersonians and how our Wellness Campaign could help conquer COVID-19,” he said.