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The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation named the City of Moss Point “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown” and presented the City with a $50,000 grant award during a celebration held Friday, October 20 at the Riverfront Community Center. The celebration included a “Self Care Expo” with healthy food and exercise demonstrations, free health screenings and a farmers market. Vendors were on hand to check blood pressure, demonstrate CPR techniques and distribute disaster preparedness supplies.
“We are so excited to partner with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to better our residents’ health,” said Mayor Mario King. The City will use the $50,000 grant to further efforts toward improving community health by promoting walking, bicycling and outdoor exercise.
The City of Moss Point was named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown,” while the cities of Meridian and Hernando and the Town of Mantachie received Healthy Hometown honors. Moss Point, which was previously a Healthy Hometown winner in 2014, received a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to support its ongoing wellness initiatives. Meridian, Hernando and Mantachie will each receive $25,000 to further their own wellness efforts. Hernando was also a previous winner in the Healthy Hometown Awards program, having been named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown” in 2010. Meridian and Mantachie are both first time honorees.
The Healthy Hometown Awards Program was established in 2010 to encourage healthy lifestyles at the community level while providing financial incentives to the cities and towns that have demonstrated the most progress. Healthy Hometown winning municipalities are chosen based on select criteria, including being tobacco-free communities, the promotion and support of community exercise, community-wide opportunities for healthy nutrition and supporting healthy learning environments in schools. Since 2010, the Foundation has provided $700,000 to support Healthy Hometown winners.
“We are proud of Moss Point’s continued leadership in creating healthy places to live, learn and work,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “We encourage other communities around the state to be part of our collective efforts to build a healthy Mississippi.”
Healthy Hometown applications are evaluated by a panel of distinguished health and wellness champions from Mississippi and around the country. Judges for the 2017 Healthy Hometown Awards Program were: Sue Polis, Director of the National League of Cities, located in Washington D.C. Polis manages the health and wellness portfolio for the Institute of Youth, Education, and Families; Paula Little, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent and Supervisor of Instruction for the Clinton County School District in Kentucky. She also established the Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition; and Robert J. Gates, Project Director for the Trinity Educators Development Corporation, based in the Mississippi Delta, providing assistance to small and limited resource farmers. He also works collaboratively with community consultants to improve health and wellness in the Delta.
To learn more about the Healthy Hometown Awards Program and this year’s winners, visit the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation’s website at www.healthiermississippi.org.