Cabarrus Health Alliance

Cabarrus Health Alliance Receives Support from Aetna Foundation

June 04, 2015

Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) was awarded $25,000 from the Aetna Foundation to support the Eat Smart, Live Well program in 2015.

Cabarrus Health Alliance wellness kitchen

A community cooking class in the Cabarrus Health Alliance wellness kitchen.

Eat Smart, Live Well is a new nutritional outreach program targeting low-income and underserved populations in Cabarrus and Mecklenburg Counties. The program will include holistic nutrition education that addresses key barriers to healthy eating. Research studies have suggested that there are a number of barriers that prevent individuals from making healthy meal choices. These include low nutritional knowledge, lack of confidence and skill related to planning, preparing, and cooking nutritious meals, and a perception that healthy ingredients are expensive. Eat Smart, Live Well will address these challenges by including lessons on meal planning, food budgeting, grocery shopping, nutrition, healthy cooking, and maximizing nutrition assistance benefits.

Classes will be based out of CHA’s state-of-the-art Wellness Kitchen. CHA currently offers two cooking classes per month that are open to the public.

“Our cooking classes have been very successful. We are eager to offer more frequent, targeted, and comprehensive programming that will truly empower individuals to make healthy choices when it comes to nutrition,” said Jessye Brick, Director of Community Investment.

CHA will work with community partners to recruit participants. In addition, the program will offer workshops to leaders at other community agencies so that they are able to lead their own nutrition demonstrations with their clients.

Jenn West, an experienced nutrition educator who holds master’s degrees in both Nutrition and Exercise Science, is enthusiastic about the project. As the Program Manager for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health project (REACH), she sees many ways that the new project will complement REACH’s current efforts to increase access to healthy food through policy and environmental approaches.

“Good nutrition is a key factor in preventing obesity and chronic disease but fewer than 1 in 5 Cabarrus County residents consume the recommended five or more servings of fruits, vegetables, or beans per day. This funding opportunity will enable us to maximize use of the Wellness Kitchen and continue seeking innovative ways to address health needs in our community,” said West.

Classes begin June 3rd  and will take full advantage of locally grown, seasonal produce. For more information on nutritional resources, visit You may also call Meghan Charpentier at 704-920-1324.To learn more about the Aetna Foundation, visit  

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