Click here for a pdf copy of the Summer 2014 CONNECTION Newsletter

Healthy City Fall River Update 

August 26, 2014

Click here to read about the 2014-2019 Action Planning Process and to see the Final Plan

The next edition of Southcoast Health's "Take a Walk with a Southcoast Doc" took place on August 23, 2014, at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport. The walk was led by Southcoast Physicians Group family medicine physician Uma Kolli, M.D., who specializes in women's health and diabetes. Dr. Kolli discussed the benefits of walking and fielded general health questions. Walking just 30 minutes a day can decrease your risk of many health problems, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Participants received a free pedometer and "Better Health Kits" that include information on nutrition and exercise. Allens Pond  Wildlife Sanctuary spans hundreds of acres of protected land and is home to more than 300 species of birds. The Beach Loop Trail offers dramatic views of the pond and ocean. Click here for a for an eight-minute video of the walk and here for more photos and text.
Employees at Blount Fine Foods in the Fall River Industrial Park were invited to the second Health and Well Being Fair  held at the facility on August 22, 2014. Organized by Benefits/Human Resource Manager Michelle Cabral, the event offered employees the opportunity to have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked by a staff member of Southcoast Health as well as to get up-to-date information from representatives of the Fall River YMCA. Partners for a Healthier Community, and Coastline EAP. "We've had a great turnout this year, much bigger than last year" noted Cabral who estimated that most of the 300 employees took advantage of the Fair. Michelle is an active member of the South Coast Worksite Health and Wellness Collaborative and is a past president of the South Coast Human Resources Council. Click here for a two-minute video of the Fair and here for more photos and text.
Staff from the Southesastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) provided a public forum on August 19, 2014 at the Fall River Bus Terminal to explain upcoming route changes to accommodate the increasing number of consumers who wish to shop at the new Walmart Store on Quequechan Street. The route changes were announced by the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) who operates buses in the City and affects Routes 5, 9 and 10. "The best way we could do this that would cost the least amount of money and affect the least amount of people was to . . . change three bus routes," stated Marty Burke of SRTA. The new routes will actually expand a portion of an existing route. "We're now going to serve the section of Pleasant Street that [Bus Route 6] used to serve and serve this new section on Eastern Avenue, thus serving these housing developments with service every hour," he pointed out on the maps. Click here for a seven-minute   video of the forum and here for more photos and text describing the forum.
The Partners Soda-free Campaign traveled to the Boys & Girls Club of Fall River's Camp Welch in nearby Assonet on August 19, 2014 to urge campers to reduce or eliminate soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. This was part of an ongoing effort to educate children and adults that soda is one of the largest sources of empty calories that contribute to obesity and metabolic syndrome. Sugars from soda and other foods are also a major contributor to tooth decay. School Wellness coordinator Marcia Picard engaged the group in a discussion in which she pointed out that a two-liter bottle of soda contains 53 teaspoons of sugar after illustrating it by having 53 kids line up. "This is a substance that's classified as a hazardous substance when carried in tank trucks" she exclaimed.  "Imagine what that will do to your stomach," she asked.  Click here to see a 17-minute video and here for more photos & text.. 
The Boys & Girls Club of Fall River runs a summer day and overnight program at Camp Welch in nearby Assonet to provide hundreds of campers with an activity-filled program that includes basketball, soccer, baseball, swings, arts and crafts, swimming, hockey, dance and more. Campers are bussed from the Club in Fall River every day and returned at the end of the day, and parents are also allowed to drop their kids off directly at the Camp. Children from Freetown, Dighton, Somerset and Swansea as well as about 60 overnight campers round out the group each day that runs from about 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. "We make sure to keep kids active," reports Peter McCarty, Executive Director of the Fall River Boys and Girls Club. "We know that at home too many kids spend too much time in front of the television or an electronic game, and we don't allow those things here at the Camp," he states. Click here for a three-minute video and here for more photos and text..
Stanley Street Treatment and Resources' (SSTAR) CEO Nancy Paull hosted Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz and Department of Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett for an extended visit on August 15, 2015. The officials toured SSTAR's South End Services at 1010 South Main Street as well as the newly-renovated facility at 386 Stanley Street so they could get a better idea of the resources available to treat people for opioid and other addictions in concert with treating their healthcare needs. The visit also afforded them to the chance to see "how we're addressing it with open access and integrated behavioral healthcare," stated Ms. Paull. Following the two tours and lunch, a larger group of local treatment providers and city and state elected officials, including State Representatives Carole Fiola and Fall River Human Services Director Dr. Henry Vaillancourt, met for a roundtable discussion. Click here for a five-minute  video of the visit and here for more photos and text describing the visit..
Steppingstone, Inc. held its twelvth annual 5K Walk for the Homeless on August 16, 2014, to raise funds for the First Step Inn at 177 North Main Street to enable it to continue to provide emergency shelter for the area's homeless population. This year's event drew dozens of participants and raised over $57,000. "We have 54 sponsors who have come to the table ahead of time to help all of those homeless people" noted Steppingstone Executive Director Kathleen Clark.  "This year . . . we have a strategic goal to relocate the shelter so we can help all of the individuals who come in the winter months who have now been taken care of by the local churches," she added. The annual event raises funds to provide counseling, proper nutrition, bedding and other services to help the homeless stay clean, sober and safely sheltered. Click here for a ten-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Nine students from the Resiliency Preparatory School were hired to be part of a summer production crew that would not only provide them employment, but also help them begin their journey to achieve their dreams. They are spending the summer using their talents in music, videography, photography, and writing to create a promotional video about the proposed Community Wellness Center organized by Greater Fall River Re-Creation. Part of the project involves interviews with various community leaders about Re-Creation and the need for the Center. Once completed, the video will help to inform the larger community and potential funders about the project. The facility is planned to house 8-10 agencies, including the downtown Council on Aging center, as well as a fitness facility, gymnasium and an auditorium. Click here for five-minute video of the videotaping session with the Mayor and here for more photos and text.
Battleship Cove Community Boating (BCCB) is a non-profit sailing school operated by the USS Massachusetts Memorial Committee, Inc. Celebrating its fourteenth year of on-the-water fun at Heritage State Park, members put the “community” in “community boating,” 100% of the membership fee is reinvested into community-based programs, enabling the program to continue  youth services and maintain or upgrade its equipment. Special reduced rates for Fall River residents are offered to a limited number of young people through Greater Fall River Re-Creation. Youth sailing classes run in two-week periods and are designed to give a basic appreciation of watercraft and sailing safety. Participants are placed according to size, ability, and experience into beginner and intermediate classes. Classes are taught in a fleet of Vanguard Optimist Prams, Vanguard Club 420s, and Cape Cod Mercury keelboats. Click here for a short video of the class and here for more photos and text.
Greater Fall River Re-Creation held its first annual Soap Box Derby at North Park on August 9, 2014. Over twenty-five entrants assembled at the top of the course on Snake Hill in North Park to compete in a round-robin to determine the fastest racer. Mayor William Flanagan and State Representative Carole Fiola were on hand to wish the racers good luck. Re-Creation Program Director Jamison Souza officiated with assistance from George Giguere, an official from the All American Soap Box Derby. The event was open to children between the ages of five and twelve. Registration was $25 for entrants who built their own cars and $90 for those who purchased a ready-to-assemble kit from Re-Creation. Certificates were awarded to the fastest car and the most creative car design. Click here for seven-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event.
Like other cities around the country that are experiencing chronic homelessness, Fall River has been participating in a national movement to end homelessness over a ten year period. Over the first five years of the project, plans have been put in place to address prevention, outreach, emergency shelter strategies, supportive services, and permanent supportive housing strategies. On August 8, 2014, the Task Force held it's fifth Homeless Connect event at Bristol Community College which invited dozens of homeless and at-risk persons to obtain many of the resources they need but have difficulty obtaining due to their lack of housing. Dozens of agencies and service representatives were on hand for the four-hour event, including, identification cards, legal and medical services, and veterans' services, as well as healthy food for breakfast and lunch. Click here for a 30-minute video and here for more photos and text.
Bristol Community College (BCC) teams up with the Greater Boston Food Bank each month, rain or shine, to bring a Mobile Market to the BCC Campus. The August 8, 2014 distribution took place on a beautiful summer day. The Market is free and open to all BCC students, faculty and staff as well as to people from the community at-large. The Market is staffed by volunteers from BCC and the larger community, including recipients who wish to assist in the bundling and distribution. A variety of fresh and frozen items are given away to people who are pre-registered for the Market depending on what the Food Bank has at that particular time. Food is distributed based on the size of the household and are given out as long as supplies last. Participants are urged to bring their own shopping bags and containers that can keep food cold until they get it home. To pre-register for the Market, go to the BCC web site and search for Mobile Market. Click here for a brief video of the volunteers and here for more photos.
Parents and children were invited to take part in kindergarten registration for students enrolling in the Fall River Public Schools at the Fall River Children's Museum on August 5, 2014. The event was held "after hours" from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. to make it easier on working parents. The event targeted all children through the age of five to stress  the importance of early education, the early childhood programs available, and the support services available to families. "We also made it a fun family event," noted Executive Director Jo-Anne Sbrega" We have lots of community partners with us here this evening, lots of give-aways, and lots of great information about healthy eating and healthy lifestyles, and literacy and so-forth," she added. The free event was sponsored in part by BayCoast Bank who provided free tee shirts using the logo "Ed Up" from the Chamber of Commerce encouraging early childhood education. Click here for a two-minute video tour and here form more photos and text.
Over three hundred Fall River low-income seniors took advantage of the Farmers' Market Coupon distribution held at Fall River Government Center on August 6, 2014. Each senior received $25 in coupons redeemable for fresh produce from participating, certified farmers at Kennedy Park, Ruggles Park, Charlton Hospital, Saint Anne's Hospital and the Downtown Farmers' Market, as well as other markets around the state. The Coupon Program for Elders is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. The coupons were made available to elders at least 60 years of age, who have limited income, through Bristol Elder Services, Inc. The goals of the program are to encourage recipients to eat more locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables, to promote more overall consumption of fresh produce, and to promote Massachusetts agriculture. Click here for photos of the 2013 coupon distribution. Click here for a 90-second video of the event and here for more photos & text.
Members of the Saint Anne's Hospital Community Benefits Committee, who met on August 6, 2014, had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Partners Executive Director Dr. David Weed on the results of a ten-month Community Needs and Assets Assessment and Action Planning Process and the development of a new health data web site. Community Health Benefits Director Tracy Ibbotson, Social Worker Brittany Lynch, and Committee members Marcia Picard, Kathy Murphy and Dee Wright were part of the Task Forces which began meeting in late September to make recommendations for the 2014-2019 Action Plan for Partners for a Healthier Community. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health designated the Community Health Network Area of Fall River, Somerset, Swansea and Westport as the planning area for these communities. In the course of developing the data, the Hospital and eight other partners also developed an on-line health data resource. Click here for more photos..  
Saint Anne's Hospital is partnering once again with Silverbrook Farm of Dartmouth to offer a farmers' market every Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the grounds of the Hospital at the corner of Middle and South Main Street. In addition to providing great produce and related products for the general community, the Hospital's Community Health Program, in partnership with the Diabetes Education Program, is offering "Steward Bucks" for high-risk patients with diabetes. These free vouchers help patients achieve their clinical goals. "Last year's program showed that a coordinated approach to healthy eating can have a positive impact on people with diabetes," said Rose Marie Couto, RN, CDE, a certified diabetes educator at Saint Anne's. "By using target goals established by the American Diabetes Association and making produce and related recipes available, we helped a number of patients reap the benefits of health eating," she said. Click here for one-minute video of the market in action and here for more photos and text about the market..
The New Bedford Wellness Initiative, an effort to raise health awareness with the goal to help prevent disease and recover from illness through healthy living and not just medications, held its fifth monthly walk in Buttonwood Park on August 2, 2014. Dr. Michael Rocha led over twenty-five dedicated walkers on a one-mile walk around the Park in a steady rain. The walk was followed by an hour-long session on nutrition led by New Bedford Mass in Motion Coordinator Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN. "We had a great time despite the rain," said Dr. Rocha. "And Kim led a great session on how to choose and prepare nutritious food, which, along with exercise, is really the best medicine I can prescribe." The walks are open to anyone and are scheduled on the first Saturday of every month at 10:00 a.m. at the Buttonwood Park Zoo. Click here for a for a three-minute video of the walk and here for more photos and text.
The Fall River Housing Authority held one of its annual Community Resource Fairs for the residents of the the Sunset Hill Housing Development on July 30, 2014. Representatives of local health and human service organizations were on hand to display information, hand out literature and answer questions for residents of the development. Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard was available to talk with parents and children about the problem with consuming sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition to the indoor displays, the Southcoast Hospital health van was also open nearby to provide free health screenings. This activity is one example of the many events organized by the Housing Authority to build community and promote health among over 20,000 residents of public housing in Fall River. Click here for a two-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.


Check it out!

Fall River's new Farmers' Market location

at the corner of Columbia and Canal Streets across from the Santo Christo Church

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 6:30 p.m., July 1st to Sept. 30th

Free Parking in the free City lot across the street!


Locally-grown produce, crafts, cooking demonstrations and live music every week!

Click here for the schedule of all farmer's markets


Healthy City Fall River Update is sent to over 500 participants in Healthy City Fall River, a partnership between the City of Fall River and Partners for a Healthier Community with a mission to improve the health status of all those who live or work in the City of Fall River. For further information about Healthy City Fall River, go to To see all of the web pages describing Healthy City activities, go to In order to send announcements of Healthy City events or to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, contact the Coordinator at Agencies: please add this e-mail address or our fax number (508-324-2429) to your standard media notification list so we can cover your event on the Healthy City Update.