Champions for Change is now CalFresh Living Healthy Living
CalFresh Healthy Living is the rebrand program for SNAP-Ed in California (formerly known as Champions for Change). The CalFresh Healthy Living program will continue to serve SNAP-Ed eligible participants, provide the same services, and promote healthy living through better nutrition and increased physical activity. The rebranding will support the connection of all the services provided under the CalFresh family and invite participation to all of the programs (CalFresh Food, CalFresh Healthy Living, CalFresh Employment and Training, and CalFresh Disaster Response).
What is SNAP-Ed?
- SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and is formally known as the food stamps program. SNAP is known as and named “CalFresh” in California.
- CalFresh offers low-income individuals assistance to purchase food using an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that is acceptable at most grocery stores and several farmer’s markets.
SNAP-Ed is a federally funded grant that supports evidence-based nutrition education prevention interventions for SNAP eligible individuals. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has selected 24 agencies to implement the Champions for Change- Healthy Community Initiative. This program is bringing nutrition and gardening education to the community of Canoga Park which has been identified to have high rates of childhood obesity and in need of education and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Champions for Change has been selected to implement this program at various locations that include schools and community centers in the city of Canoga Park. From October 2016 through December 14, 2018, we have implemented the following:
Number of participants reached: 72,005
Garden Built: 12
To see our list of schools, see the left side of this page.
See the articles below for more on our program and our impact on the community.
CSUN's Champions for Change gets featured on ABC7 News!
Click here to read the full featured article.
September 10, 2018
CSUN Project Hopes to Transform Health & Nutrition in Canoga Park
Members of the Canoga Park community building a community garden, one of several projects launched as part of Champions for Change. Photo courtesy of Viridiana Ortiz.
It has been two years since California State University, Northridge faculty, staff and students launched the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative in Canoga Park, with the help of a grant from the California Department of Public of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In that time, community gardens have sprouted at more than a dozen sites; more than 70 community events have been held to educate people about healthy eating habits; and more than 400 classes have been conducted to teach school children, their families and other Canoga Park residents nutrition education and healthy living habits. In all, the initiative has touched the lives of more than 28,000 people.
“We have been very busy these past two years, but there is still a lot we’d like to do,” said Viridiana Ortiz, Project Coordinator of the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative in CSUN’s Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics. “We have funding for the initiative for only three years, but we are hoping that by the end of that time we will have planted the seeds so that our efforts — which have been done in collaboration with the community — will continue and grow, and are flexible enough to respond to community needs as they change.”
To that end, officials at the Magaram Center in the College of Health and Human Development teamed up with officials at the university’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing and its Neighborhood Partners in Action (NPA) initiative. NPA is designed to help optimize Canoga Park’s resources, collect data about community needs and form partnerships to foster relations between residents, local businesses and the university. Together, the two enterprises helped take the Champions for Change initiative into nearly all corners of Canoga Park, from local churches and businesses to schools and centers that serve the elderly.
Initiative organizers also are working with Guadalupe Community Center’s food pantry, and a food pantry at the university, to procure fresh fruits and vegetables and provide patrons of the pantries with nutrition education. A task force made up of university personnel and community members has been created to ensure that the initiative is responding to the needs of the Canoga Park community.
CSUN students have conducted classes on developing healthy eating habits and cooking practices, helped establish community gardens, and attended weekly farmers market to distribute health information, including recipes for turning the produce being sold at the market into healthy, affordable family meals that respect cultural sensibilities.
The initiative, which was funded with an $880,000 grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that supports a project to reduce obesity rates among low-income populations in Canoga Park that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education benefits. The grant aims to reduce obesity by providing nutrition education, promoting physical activity and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray and shop.
Media Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler
(818) 677-2130 on September 10, 2018 in Community, Health and Fitness, Media Releases
January 31, 2017
CSUN Awarded $880,000 to Address Obesity Rate in Canoga Park
As part of Champions for Change, CSUN faculty and students will be working throughout the Canoga Park area to help to establish community gardens. Photo courtesy of the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics.
California State University, Northridge has been awarded $880,000 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to support a project to reduce obesity rates among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education eligible populations in Canoga Park.
The grant, made possible with support from the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, supports the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce obesity by providing nutrition education, promoting physical activity and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray and shop.
“We will be working with local community groups, including schools, to build the foundation for ongoing efforts to combat obesity in the area through nutrition education, promoting more physical activity and create healthier environments, including community gardens,” said Annette Besnilian, executive director of CSUN’s Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics. The center is partnering with CSUN’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing’s Neighborhood Partners in Action project in Canoga Park.
Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to be physically active. In addition, the initiative will identify resources throughout the county to help improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physically active in a variety of settings, including childcare centers, schools, faith-based organizations, corner stores, parks, worksites and cities.
As part of the initiative, CSUN faculty and students will be working throughout the Canoga Park area, helping to establish community gardens where fruits and vegetables will be grown at about 13 different sites, as well as holding education sessions at local schools and community groups about making healthy lifestyle choices.
“We hope our efforts will result in individual behavior changes, as well as changes to the institutional setting and the environment around the community,” Besnilian said. “As we move forward, we will evaluate the effectiveness of what we have implanted to make sure it is sustainable. Our goal is to build something that will last well beyond the three years of the grant.”
“The Champions for Change project is a great reflection what can happen when the students and faculty on the CSUN campus partner with community organizations to bring about social change,” said sociology professor David Boyns, director of CSUN’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing. Boyns and theater professor Doug Kaback, who heads the Neighborhood Partners in Action project, are working with the Magaram Center on the project.
According to the “LA County: A Cities and Communities Health” report, obesity-related chronic illnesses continue to rank among the top 10 leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. While the obesity epidemic continues to impact nearly all population groups, about 18.2 percent of children and 18.8 percent of adults in the LA City Council District 3 are obese.
Media Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler
(818) 677-2130 on January 31, 2017
The goal is to provide the area’s low-income residents with healthy food options. The next distribution is scheduled to take place Friday, Aug. 23.
“This a great way of ensuring that people in the community have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Brenda Gutierrez, health educator with CalFresh Healthy Living. “It’s also a wonderful way for the community-based organizations we work with to connect with the people they serve.”
The food distribution is a collaborative effort between CalFresh Healthy Living, Food Forward, Follow Your Heart, Earth Island Natural Foods, Freedom Church and about a dozen local community-based organizations.On the day of the event, Food Forward — a nonprofit organization that fights food hunger and waste by rescuing surplus produce and giving it to organizations that help people in need — delivers a truckload of fresh fruits and vegetables to a parking lot at Freedom Church in Canoga Park. A team of students, staff and volunteers with CSUN’s Cal Fresh Healthy Living, with the help of equipment and personnel from Earth Islands Natural Foods and Follow Your Heart, quickly sort the produce into boxes.
Soon after, representatives from dozens of nonprofits that serve the needy throughout the West San Fernando Valley begin arriving. As the drivers fill out paperwork, Gutierrez and her team load the cars with boxes of food, fresh produce, cookbooks, recipe cards and other nutritional information developed by CalFresh Healthy Living students and staff.
“It’s an amazing process to watch and be a part of,” Gutierrez said. “I refer to it as ‘drive-through’ distribution. They literally drive up, open their cars and we load the goods. By the time they finish filling out their paperwork, they’re ready to go.”
Every month, approximately 4,100 individuals and families receive food. The food distribution project officially launched in March, when more than 13,000 pounds of fresh produce were distributed to 19 organizations throughout the West San Fernando Valley.
In addition to the monthly food distribution, CSUN students and staff working on the CalFresh Healthy Living program partner with the Guadalupe Community Center’s food pantry and the university’s on-site food pantry to procure fresh fruits and vegetables, while providing nutrition education to patrons of the pantries. There also is a task force comprised of university personnel and community members to ensure the initiative is responsive to the needs of the Canoga Park community. The project has been coordinated by Viridiana Ortiz, of CSUN’s Champions for Change, for the past year.
CSUN students have conducted classes on developing healthy eating habits and cooking practices, helped establish community gardens and attended weekly farmers markets to distribute health information such as recipes that are healthy, affordable, culturally sensitive and use the produce available at the market.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health CalFresh Healthy Living progam began three years ago as CSUN Champions for Change, the result of a collaboration between two CSUN centers and two co-principal investigators — family and consumer sciences professor Annette Besnilian, director of the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics; and sociologyprofessor David Boyns, director of CSUN’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing — that work in the community. CSUN’s Magaram Center in the College of Health and Human Development teamed up with the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing and its Neighborhood Partners in Action (NPA)initiative. NPA is designed to help optimize Canoga Park’s resources, collect data about community needs and form partnerships to foster relationships between residents, local businesses and the university.
The CalFresh Healthy Living initiative is funded with a $895,000 grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, whichs supports a project to reduce obesity rates among low-income populations in Canoga Park that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education benefits. The grant aims to reduce obesity by providing nutrition education, promoting physical activity and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray and shop.
(818) 677-2130 on August 13, 2019