Wholespire awards ten mini-grants to communities in South Carolina

Wholespire is pleased to announce that ten Healthy Eating, Active Living mini-grants have been awarded to non-profit organizations, schools, faith-based organizations, community coalitions, and local government in South Carolina. This mini-grant was awarded through a competitive application process to fund sustainable projects that aim to reduce chronic disease and create more fair and equal opportunities to make healthy choices by improving access to healthy food or creating opportunities for physical activity.

The ten mini-grant recipients are:

Bridging the Gap Advocacy – The Home Plate Initiative, led by Bridging the Gap (BTG) in Laurens County, is a small home that is currently being transformed into a community education center for the HYPE team, youth, and families within the region. Funding will be used to create a demonstration kitchen for BTG program participants to utilize produce from its community garden to aid in cooking competence and food literacy. The kitchen will be open to the community after BTG hours. This project is being supported by Clemson YLI SNAP-Ed, Lakelands Regions YMCA, and Wholespire Laurens County. 

Charleston Orphan House, Inc (Carolina Youth Development Center) – Growing Goodness is a community garden project that will be located on the Berkeley County Campus. Also supported by The Green Heart Project, funds will be used to build garden beds to engage group foster care youth in hands-on gardening activities that will promote physical and mental health. 

City of Darlington – The City of Darlington Outdoor Fitness Project expands on and continues a larger plan created for the Frank & Mary Sue Wells Park by the City of Darlington Beautification Board. Funds will be used to purchase and install outdoor fitness equipment and bicycle racks in four parks. This project aims to continue to promote an active lifestyle by giving citizens more access to an active mode of travel, through the placement of bicycle racks, and several designated areas to freely perform fitness routines across the city.

Helping Others Progress through Education (H.O.P.E.) – Serving the Community with FoodShare York County is an effort by H.O.P.E. to strengthen the food system and reduce food insecurity in the southside of Rock Hill. Funds will be used to create community gardens that will help supply FoodShare York County, as well as increase the number of SNAP customers by promoting FoodShare in apartment complexes, training partner organizations on SNAP equipment, and training staff on the Healthy Bucks program. 

Marion County Library System – The Storyscape project is an interactive outdoor literacy self-guided walking and biking trail activity featuring 20 hanging structures that display sequenced pages of a children’s book and placed throughout a high-traffic area within the community. Already established and well-received by the community, funding will be used to reinforce the structures at Marion Hike Bike Trail in the City of Marion.

Oakwood-Windsor Elementary – Open community use is an asset for community members in Aiken who use Oakwood-Windsor Elementary’s open fields for physical activity after school hours. Funds for the Hydrating and ASSISTing our OWES Community project will be used to purchase an outdoor water hydration/bottle filling station and two soccer goals for use by the community. 

SC School for the Deaf and the Blind Foundation – The Freedom to Play project will improve the play experience for sensory multi-disabled students at Cedar Springs Academy in Spartanburg. Challenges like slipping, falling, and getting hurt for these students keep them from running freely. Funds for this project will be used to purchase adaptive play equipment and paint lines on a recently paved surface to create a walking track, half basketball court, and hopscotch, and Four-square game areas.

The S.O.S. Project, Inc. at Poplar Spring AME Church – Like many rural communities, the Ora community in Laurens County doesn’t have sidewalks, parks, or any safe areas that promote physical activity. By creating a safe space at Poplar Spring AME Church, community members can use the area to be physically active and improve their health. Through the Creating a Healthy Community project, funds will be used to transform a grass basketball court to concrete or asphalt, creating a kids’/family corner by adding playground equipment and benches, repairing and upgrading the baseball field, and adding safety features like lights and signage.

Generation 4 – An Open Play Space for Community Use is a collaborative project between Generation 4 and Wholespire Anderson County to encourage the use of a trail located at Welfare Baptist Church in Belton. Funds will be used to erect Passport to Health kiosks along the trail that will offer health information. This project will improve upon and assist in the development of a place where all community members have a safe, secure, accessible, equitable, and enjoyable place to walk and be physically active. 

Wholespire Richland County – The Project Discovery Palmetto Trails aims to increase access to physical activity for families in Hopkins through the use of the local trailhead of the Wateree Passage of the Palmetto Trail. Funds for this project will be used to purchase signage for this section of the trail to help guide trail users and to help them feel more comfortable knowing where they are going. The Palmetto Trail is supporting this project and will partner on guided trail hikes, educational sessions, and materials.

Funding for these mini-grants was made possible by a grant received by Wholespire, formerly Eat Smart Move More South Carolina, and the South Carolina Office of Rural Health from the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.