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St. Luke’s Magic Valley Awards $284,000 in Community Health Grants to Local Non-Profits

By Michelle Bartlome, News and Community
May 31, 2018

St. Luke’s Magic Valley awarded $284,000 to 36 different organizations as part of St. Luke’s Community Health Improvement Fund (CHIF) grants for 2017-2018.

Special consideration was given to proposals aligned with needs identified by St. Luke’s through its 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The CHNA is a comprehensive analysis of Idaho’s most important health needs.

CHNA top priorities are to:

  • Improve the prevention, detection and treatment of obesity and diabetes
  • Improve the prevention, detection and management of mental illness and reduce suicide
  • Improve access to affordable health care and affordable health insurance

Since 2006, more than $2.8 million has been distributed to organizations throughout the communities of Magic Valley.

During a recent celebration and lunch at St. Luke’s Magic Valley, representatives from the grant recipients explained the importance of the funding to their organizations.

Twin Falls Optimist Foundation, Inc.

Grant funding for the Optimist Youth House will directly help youth who, at 18, have aged out of foster care. They will be the first residents of the Optimist Youth House, explained Barry Knoblich, Twin Falls Optimist Foundation president.

The funding will be used to establish a baseline of the youth residents’ overall health needs and make improvements in vision, dental and medical.

“We are very proud of the community support for this group of youth,” Knoblich said. “It’s been difficult for this group of youth, and the community is investing in them as individuals to become productive adults.”

The Idaho Food Bank

“The grant means we can reduce food insecurity and foster community health at the same time in the Magic Valley,” said Morgan Wilson, vice president of development for the Idaho Food Bank.

Support helps the Idaho Foodbank fulfill its mission is to develop efficient solutions that contribute to the health and well-being of communities, Wilson explained. Without that support, people face serious risks.

“Chronic hunger can undermine the health and vitality of a community. Kids get sick more often and underperform in school. Seniors are more likely to have strokes and heart attacks. People of all ages who don’t get enough to eat or don’t have access to healthy food choices are at greater risk of diet-related chronic diseases such type 2 diabetes and obesity,” Wilson said. “For these reasons, we collaborate with health care organizations to promote community health and well-being, and this grant provides the funds to do that.”

For example, the grant will provide $12,000 to support the Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program in the Magic Valley. The food bank works with schools, churches, Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA and health care providers to offer free courses where people learn to cook healthy, good-tasting food that can be prepared on a tight budget.

Jerome Recreation District

“Receiving the Community Health Improvement Fund grant has meant a lot in our ability to offer this program to our community and even more to me as the director of camp,” said Amy Worthington, Jerome Recreation District fitness supervisor. “I am so encouraged by community members highlighting our camp and its mission. It gives me renewed passion and vision for this camp.

The support from St. Luke’s helps them buy healthy foods for the kids to prepare in their nutrition classes and cooking classes and also allows them to cover busing costs for the children.

The camp is free and is offered for six weeks. It is offered to 130 children who are selected based on an application letter, referrals from the school district and health care providers. A hands-on cooking class and meal preparation empowers participants to go home and do it for themselves and their families, Worthington explained. It also offers daily swimming, fitness and nutrition classes, in addition to sports skill instruction and team-building activities.

“The physical benefits of this camp are measured in inches and weight lost and strength gained, but we can’t measure the confidence and joy that these kids contain after leaving our program,” she said.

St. Luke’s Health System awarded nearly 90 non-profit organizations across the Treasure Valley with CHIF grants in early February 2018. In all, the St. Luke’s Health System will invest more than $550,000 in these grants for 2018.

About The Author

Michelle Bartlome is the public relations manager at St. Luke's Magic Valley.

Related Location

St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center
801 Pole Line Road W.
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 814-1000