New community gardens and improved health services are coming to some Macon-Bibb County neighborhoods.
A $15,000 donation from WellCare of Georgia will be used in Macon-Bibb’s Shalom Zones, designated areas where revitalization efforts are led by churches, community leaders, businesses and the local government.
The money will go toward health-related activities that include health screenings, as well as seven community gardens.
A check presentation was held Monday at the Macon-Bibb County Government Center.
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Frank Austin, coordinator of the Macon-Bibb Shalom Zones Initiative, said residents in those neighborhoods said they wanted more promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
Community gardens will provide vegetables for people who don’t have as much access to supermarkets. Funds will also be used to “bring in much needed health care -- health screenings for blood pressure, diabetes -- those types of conditions that plague those communities,” he said.
About half of the funds will help start community gardens in Shalom Zones in Lynmore Estates, south Macon, Bellevue, Hillcrest, Unionville and east Macon. Some of the money will also be used to continue to supply a garden in the Village Green neighborhood.
“This provides food that is accessible, that is fresh and healthy, and also allows us to empower our members,” said Alicia Johnson, director of Medicaid marketing for WellCare.
Shalom Zones are a way to promote “health, healing and wholeness” in communities, Mayor Robert Reichert said.
One of the overall goals of the Shalom Zone’s health initiative is to reduce the number of uninsured residents, Austin said.
To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 744-4623 or find him on Twitter @stan-telegraph.