February 9th marked the one-year anniversary of Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. The First Lady marked the anniversary at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia.
There were many great accomplishments to celebrate and her visit further highlighted the importance of faith and community leaders. “How about getting your church, or your place of worship involved… that’s what we’re doing through Let’s Move Faith and Communities. This is an initiative where we’re supporting faith leaders who want to build healthier congregations,” said the First Lady. Mrs. Obama encouraged faith and community leaders to start exercise or cooking ministries where people inspire each other to get active and teach families to prepare healthier meals.
Since the launch of Let’s Move Faith and Communities last year, the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been reaching out to organizations around the country about Let’s Move. Collectively, we are making great progress towards meeting the First Lady’s four challenges for faith and community groups and want to highlight a few examples of groups stepping up to these challenges.
CHOICES for Kids worked with the Department of Health and Human Services to gather together congregations and community groups to form Let’s Move Atlanta Faith and Communities. Collectively, the Atlanta community has committed to walking 283,000 miles, completing 13,000 PALAs (Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards), hosting over 100 new Summer Food Service Program sites, and starting over 500 new farmers markets or community gardens!
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has issued a challenge for 1,000 of its congregations to participate in Let’s Move! this year. The church is putting particular focus on activities that increase access to healthy, affordable food, and end hunger in their communities.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America have committed to achieving 100,000 Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards over the coming year. Kids at Boys & Girls Clubs across the country are joining this effort to get active.
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the largest Latino Christian organization in the country, has committed to hosting at least 120 new Summer Food Service Program sites this coming summer. They’ve been following up on this commitment by presenting to their Board of Directors and doing outreach to their networks about the program.
Since the Let’s Move Faith and Communities launch, Ample Harvest has registered 137 new food pantries, bringing their network to a total of 3,111 pantries in all 50 states. Ample Harvest runs a website that connects gardeners to food pantries in their communities, giving them easy means to donate excess fresh produce from their harvest.
Convoy of Hope has committed to having their members walk a total of 600,000 miles, which will be large help in reaching our collective goal of three million miles walked this year.
As the President and First Lady say all the time, government cannot do this alone. Join the effort to reduce childhood obesity in your community or congregation by becoming a Let’s Move Faith and Communities partner. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!
Alexia Kelley serves as Senior Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Max Finberg serves as Director of the USDA Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.