CDC Dedicates More than $1 Million to Savannah Area in the Fifth Year of REACH Grant Funding

(SAVANNAH, GA) Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia are pleased to announce that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has affirmed that $1,086,000 in Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant funding will be made available over the next year to reduce health disparities and increase access to health and nutritional resources across African-American and Hispanic/Latino Americans in across Savannah and Chatham County.

On October 1, the local organizations entered their fifth year as administrators of the five-year $3.4 million REACH grant, awarded in 2018. The CDC has confirmed that the year-five allotment of $685,000 will be distributed to the administrators and an additional $401,000 will be awarded to continue a supplemental grant for COVID and flu vaccine awareness and access programs. The supplemental grants were first awarded in April 2021 to increase COVID vaccine awareness, access, and acceptance among Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents of Chatham County and in October 2021, to reduce the risk of flu. The administrators utilize both supplemental grants to reduce the disproportionate effect of flu and COVID-19 in those communities.

“One of the most significant aspects of the COVID and flu prevention supplemental grants is that influential community members have been engaged to help fill information gaps about the COVID vaccine,” said Nichele Hoskins, REACH COVID/Flu communication manager. “We are utilizing the funds to train community members about the risks of getting flu and COVID, and help them foster stronger connections, communication, and trust between people who need vaccines and vaccine providers.”

So far, 55 “community health advocates” have participated in Healthy Savannah’s training program and 34 have now completed the training requirements with many of those still actively working in the community. The grant administrators have also supported faith-based community events that include COVID and flu awareness efforts and vaccine clinics.

“Healthy Savannah was also honored in July to receive the CDC’s 2022 REACH Lark Galloway-Gilliam Award for Advancing Health Equity Challenge,” said Paula Kreissler, executive director. “The award recognizes extraordinary individuals and entities whose work has contributed to advancing health equity.”

The local administrators of the REACH Grant have developed and/or support numerous programs that promote nutrition, physical activity and clinical/community linkages in Savannah’s and Chatham County’s priority communities. They include:

Nutrition/Fresh Food Access
Farm Truck 912 is the mobile arm of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market and is partially funded by the REACH grant. It takes all of the local seasonal fruits, vegetables, and agricultural products sourced directly from the Saturday market vendors to Savannah neighborhoods throughout the week. The market and the food truck also allow SNAP participants to double their spending when purchasing fresh produce.
Corner Store Program – Twelve local stores participate in the Corner Store Initiative to make healthy food choices the easy choice in small retail stores that are often the only source of food in some of Savannah’s low-wealth neighborhoods.
Fresh Express – In partnership with Second Harvest of Georgia, this monthly food distribution program at Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care and Moses Jackson Advancement Center, along with a pop-up location on Waters at 40th Street, have distributed more than 40,000 pounds of fresh food to community residents.

Physical Activity
Tide to Town is a protected network of walking and bicycling trails that will connect 75% of Savannah’s neighborhoods to safe, affordable walking and biking infrastructure. Its first phase, the Truman Linear Park Trail, is partially complete with the construction of the final phase expected to begin soon. The 6-mile trail will link 827 acres of existing parkland in Chatham County. Including the Daffin Park trail loop and the Lake Mayer trail loop, the total connected pathway will be approximately 9 miles.
-Healthy Walks is a grass-roots initiative to explore Savannah area trails and walkways launched in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and celebrated its two-year anniversary in March 2022.
-Activity-Friendly Routes to Everyday Destinations Neighborhood Plan focuses on creating safer places to walk and bike within Savannah neighborhoods.

Community/Clinical Connections
– The database provides more than 1,500 resources to approximately 1,200 site visitors each month. Healthy Savannah and the “Y” offer HERO HELP ME navigation assistance to their REACH grant partners so they can better help their clients find the resources they need.
Step Up Savannah is an independent nonprofit that promotes economic opportunity and financial security in Savannah and Chatham County. The organization plays a major role in signing up SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit recipients, enrolling about 400 recipients a month.

ABOUT THE YMCA OF COASTAL GEORGIA/HEALTHY SAVANNAH GRANT FOR RACIAL AND ETHNIC APPROACHES TO COMMUNITY HEALTH: In September 2018, Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia were awarded a five-year, $3.4 million grant called Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health. Awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the funding is being deployed in an “upstream” approach by the Savannah/Chatham County project team to foster sustainable health equity among Black residents in low-wealth neighborhoods. The aim of the local project, called Healthy Opportunities Powering Equity, or HOPE, is to increase the availability of high-quality nutrition; promote physical activity through creating greater access to safe places to walk, run, bike and play; and foster stronger connections between people and the healthcare providers who serve them. Working with more than 200 community partners and organizations, the team is committed to elevating the health and wellness of the community through policy, systems, and environmental change.

Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations® Inc.

Scroll to Top