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Volunteers pack 2,800 meals for food shelves

Volunteer Ron Campbell picked up a total of 980 meals for food shelves in Ellsworth, Elmwood and Bay City.  With Campbell are David Miller, president of River Falls Area Hospital, and Kali Higgins, event coordinator.

Think healthy eating has to be expensive? Think again.

That's the message received by the more than 75 volunteers who helped pack 2,800 meals for local food shelves on June 1.

The healthy meal packs included black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, chicken and a bag of brown rice. The packs also included education on healthy eating on a budget and recipes using the ingredients in the meal pack.

"This tastes great," commented a young volunteer, sampling one of the recipes. "Was this really made with the food we put in those packs?"

Allina Health employee volunteers were joined by members of the local community, including families and friends. The event at River Falls Area Hospital was one of 40 events hosted across the Allina Health system, providing a total of 200,000 healthy meals to nonprofit organizations throughout Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

"It's inspirational to see this many people volunteering for the good of our community," said David Miller, president of River Falls Area Hospital. "I'm so proud to be part of this work."

As part of the Neighborhood Health Connection initiative, the food packing event also promoted a grant opportunity for activities strengthening social connections while increasing healthy behaviors related to nutrition and physical activity.

Grants of up to $5,000 are available to fund healthy activities occurring between July 1 - Dec. 31. For more information, and to apply for a grant, go to www.neighborhoodhealthconnection.org.

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