West Reading >> Eating fruits and vegetables is not only good for your health, but through Oct. 31; it could be beneficial for your county.
Tower Health has launched a community-wide social media-based competition to promote awareness of healthy eating in Berks, Montgomery and Chester counties.
“The intention is to try to get our entire community a little healthier overall,” said Sarah Luber, Tower Health wellness program director.
The challenge, which Luber equated to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, encourages people to eat “at least five servings of fruits and veggies for five days.”
Participants then create a video of themselves through the Boomerang app and post it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #TowerGimmeFive. They can then tag five friends to participate in the challenge as well.
For every video posted to #TowerGimmeFive representing a successful five-day challenge, Tower Health will donate $1 to food banks in Berks, Montgomery and Chester counties — with a maximum donation of $30,000 — according to a press release.
Prizes will also be awarded as part of the effort. Randomly selected participants can receive a grocery store gift card to either Giant Food Stores, Redner’s Market, Weis Markets, Aldi, Wegman’s or Trader Joe’s. A total of five-$500 gift cards; 10-$250 gift cards; and 50-$100 gift cards will be awarded.
While each person can only win one prize during the campaign, they can compete in the challenge multiple times, according to information provided by Tower Health. Posting videos from multiple successful challenges increases the amount of money donated to food banks and an individual’s chances of winning a prize, according to the release.
“Pottstown Hospital is proud to partner with local organizations to improve the health of our community. The #TowerGimmeFive challenge is just one way to demonstrate this support,” said Rich Newell, CEO of Pottstown Hospital, which is one of the hospitals owned by Tower Health. “We hope the community joins us in this important initiative to create healthy lifestyle changes while also supporting our local food banks.”
Phoenixville Hospital employees are also excited about the campaign, according to Michelle Hochstuhl, human resources coordinator at Phoenixville Hospital, another Tower Health-owned facility.
“We kicked off our campaign last week and employees were delighted with the selection of produce provided and thankful for the opportunity to participate in this event. Our cafeteria was transformed into a vibrant farmer’s market,” she said. “We are eager to see the collection of videos posted from co-workers and community members alike.”
There are many health benefits associated with eating more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis — such as helping to better control or reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, according to the press release.
Luber added that it’s not too hard to stick to a healthy diet, which she said benefits people in the community who are food insecure. She said it’s a common misconception that people “in a lower socio-economic class can’t afford healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.”
Luber said that if “you were to put together a meal plan for the week and have items that were all plant-based” instead of fast food, “it would be two to three times more expensive going to the fast food chain” looking at nutrient density instead of quantity.
Luber also mentioned that a lot of people who don’t typically eat as many fruits and vegetables do it out of “habit,” from what they were taught as kids.
Tower Health distributed 55 total Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares from Lancaster Farm Fresh to employers. The leftovers will be provided to food banks, according to Luber. She added that food banks typically collect only non perishables.
As part of the #TowerGimmeFive campaign, Tower Health will host several cooking classes. The lessons are:
• Girls Night Out, Friday, Aug. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
• Couples Night Out, Friday, Sept. 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
• Family-Friendly Afternoon, Saturday, Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Each class costs $10 and will consist of a three course meal, taught by chefs from Reading Hospital, according to Luber. The classes will be taught at the Reading Hospital Conference Center.
For more information about the Tower Health initiative and the classes visit www.towerhealth.org/TowerGimmeFive.
In addition to Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pottstown Hospital and Phoenixville Hospital — Tower Health also includes Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville, Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia, and Jennersville Hospital in West Grove. For information about the Tower Health system visit www.towerhealth.org.
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