More than $44K in grants awarded to promote healthy living

First lady Kristin Cooper attends announcement ceremony in Mount Olive

From right: UnitedHealthcare of North Carolina Medical Director Dr. Robert Waterhouse, First Lady Kristin Cooper and North Duplin High School horticulture teacher Lynn Marshburn pose during an event granting a total of $44,000 to schools and YMCAs statewide. Photograph Courtesy Largemouth Communications

MOUNT OLIVE – Healthy habits and healthy eating equal healthy kids.

On Monday, first lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper visited North Duplin Junior-Senior High School to announce United Health Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation has awarded grants totaling $44,000 to schools and YMCAs statewide.

Across North Carolina, 22 schools and YMCAs will receive $2,000 each to build or expand an existing vegetable garden, to provide educational resources about agriculture, to enhance understanding in caring for the environment, and to assist in the maintaining of healthy lifestyles.

“Nourishing minds and bodies is critical to helping children succeed in school,” said Cooper. “Research shows that eating a healthy school breakfast and lunch improves student attendance, discipline and academic performance.”

Research has supported the notion that school gardening, combined with a healthy lunch program or nutrition education, encourages healthier food choices among students. Students that have grown fruits and vegetables themselves are more likely to select those options to eat. North Duplin Junior-Senior High School will use its grant to construct three new raised garden beds, a pollinator and native bird habitats.

Grant providers United Health Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation are nonprofit organizations geared toward improving health in communities.

Grant recipients include:

— Gouge Elementary School, Bakersville — Socrates Academy, Matthews
— Bunn Elementary School, Bunn — North Duplin Jr. Sr. High School, Mount Olive
— Blessed Sacrament School, Burlington — Perry W. Harrison Elementary, Pittsboro
— Culbreth Middle School, Chapel Hill — St. Timothy’s School, Raleigh
— Garinger High School, Charlotte — Lead Mine Elementary School, Raleigh
— Langdon C. Kerr Elementary, Clinton — Harris Creek Elementary, Raleigh
— Conover School, Conover — Hunter Elementary School, Raleigh
— Reaching All Minds Academy, Durham — Long Mill Elementary, Youngsville
— James B. Dudley High School, Greensboro — YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly, Black Mountain
— Third Street Education Center, Greenville — YMCA of Northwest North Carolina, Statesville
— Woodson Branch Nature School, Marshall — YMCA Camp Harrison, Boomer



Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve the health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. Since its founding in 1999, United Health Foundation has committed nearly $358 million to programs and communities around the world. Its parent organization, UnitedHealthcare, is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers.

Whole Kids Foundation, a Whole Foods Market foundation, is empowering schools and inspiring families. The foundation aims to help children reach optimal health through the strength of a healthy body fueled by nutritious food.