Fall Newsletter
September 2020
Smoke Free Poster Contest Winners Announced
First Place Winner
"It was so hard to choose a winner.
Everyone did a remarkable job!"
-April Hughes, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator
The Boys and Girls Club of Kennebec Valley joined HCCA Tobacco Prevention Coordinator April Hughes to host a tobacco prevention poster contest with local youth.

Youth chose messages about protecting the earth by not littering cigarette butts, not vaping and smoking, the potential harmful effects of using tobacco, and positive quit messages.

The winners received a Let's Go! knapsack with water bottle and fun things like a frisbee and a jump rope to promote physical activity.
2nd - 3rd - 4th
HCCA connects with Gardiner Youth
Nutrition & Physical Activity
Let’s Go!
2020 Champions
Let's Go! is a statewide movement to promote healthy habits around nutrition and physical activity for children who live, learn, and play in Maine. For the past four years, our teachers and childcare professionals have been signing onto the Let's Go! program and practicing the five priority strategies with the children they work with each day. Children are learning about healthy habits such as eating 5 fruits and vegetables each day; limiting recreational screen time every day; participating in physical activity inside and outside; and learning how important it is to keep their bodies hydrated with water throughout the day.
Each year, Let's Go! recognizes childcare professionals, school teachers, school nurses, and school kitchen managers as Champions in their efforts to create and promote healthy environments for children.
Click on 2020 Let's Go! Recognized Sites in S. Kennebec County to see a complete listing of all the sites participating with Let's Go! and learn about the Let's Go! Recognition process.
If you want to see your child's school or childcare program be a part of this community-wide movement to increase healthy eating and physical activity, contact Nan Bell to learn more!
Thank You
to all Let’s Go!  Schools, Lunchrooms,
After School Programs and Child Care Sites
in Southern Kennebec County
for your commitment to creating
a healthy environment for
our children to grow and thrive!

HCCA awarded
funding for
Let's Go! Mini Grants
Schools, child care programs, after school programs, and school lunchrooms throughout Maine integrate Let's Go! strategies into their everyday practices caring for Maine's children. To sustain these efforts and promote innovative ideas in support of 5-2-1-0 messages, the Let's Go! home office offered statewide coordinators an opportunity to apply for grant funding.

Nan Bell, Let's Go! Coordinator at HCCA successfully applied for this funding, making HCCA the recipient of $6,000 for mini grants to be offered to Let's Go! registered sites in southern Kennebec County. Funding for proposals will range from $50 - $800.
The announcement for applications is scheduled for October 12.
Are you ready for pumpkin spice season?
Rachael Reynolds, SNAP-Ed Coordinator has the Perfect Pumpkin Pancake recipe for you!
Check out our YouTube channel to see this and other fantastic videos.
October is National Farm to School Month
National Farm to School Month celebrates and recognizes connections among kids, families, schools, and the people who grow and harvest our food. Farm to School uses school gardens, local food served in school meals, and agriculture education in the classroom to help kids learn about food origins and the importance of eating fresh, healthy, local food.

This year is the 10th Anniversary of National Farm to School Month. Find resources to celebrate and promote here: National Farm to School Month. You can also promote on social media using #F2SMonth, #farmtoschool and visit @NationalFarmtoSchoolNetwork

HCCA is home to the Maine Farm to School Network.
Follow @MaineFarmToSchoolNetwork on Facebook and sign up for the Maine Farm
to School News at the bottom of the Maine Farm to School Network webpage.
Great discussion during the
Central Regional Dialogue (above) and the Western Regional Dialogue (below)
MEFTI Builds Collaboration
HCCA is home to the Maine Farm to Institution Network (MEFTI), a lead organizer of a collaborative series of events to build greater connectivity across Maine’s food system.

Over the past month, this project--the Maine Food Convergence, supported by the Quimby Family Foundation- hosted 5 (virtual) Regional Dialogues.

Well over 150 people attended from various sectors of Maine’s food system to discuss priorities and focus for a 2021 statewide food systems convening.

This is one step in the journey to better collaborate and build the network of food system stakeholders across Maine.

Learn more and get involved at Maine Food Convergence Project. Learn more about MEFTI at Maine Farm to Institution.
Substance Use Prevention
Gardiner Area Thrives Coalition
Shares Concerns
Over Gardiner Downtown Business Diversity
The City of Gardiner has found itself in a situation that was not on its radar six months ago. The city opted in for adult use cannabis businesses (retail, growing, manufacturing, and testing), one of three municipalities in southern Kennebec County to allow adult use retail cannabis stores. 

The city's Planning and Ordinance Committees held hearings and made their plan, never imagining that a few short months later, with the impacts of COVID-19, there would be several empty storefronts in downtown Gardiner. At the end of June, the city received four adult use marijuana retail store applications and now the town is considering two more. 

Gardiner Area Thrives Coalition responded with a Marijuana Position Statement and letter to the City Council to consider putting a cap on retail density. Gardiner Area Thrives also submitted an Op Ed to the Kennebec Journal that appeared in the paper August 29.

At the September 2 City Council meeting, there was a vote for the Planning and Ordinance Committees to revisit retail cannabis in all areas where businesses are allowed, and to consider a moratorium until further study can be completed. The applications in process will stand as long as all required steps are completed.

If you are a concerned Gardiner resident or business owner, you can contact Gardiner City Council Members or join Gardiner Area Thrives.

HCCA hosts Gardiner Area Thrives, a coalition of volunteers from Gardiner, Pittston, Randolph, and West Gardiner creating communities where youth thrive. Members include youth, parents, school employees, organization and business representatives, and other community members.
New study:
Young people exposed to
smoking imagery
are 3X more likely
to vape
Click to watch Truth Initiative Video
Is your favorite show normalizing tobacco? "Exposure to tobacco content in episodic programs and tobacco and E-cigarette initiation," a recent study published in Preventative Medicine, shows that youth and young adults with high exposure to popular streaming and TV shows containing tobacco images are three times more likely to start vaping compared to peers with no exposure. Youth e-cigarette use is at epidemic levels. The report explains how tobacco content on the small screen is a growing and urgent health risk for young Americans. This short (2 minutes), powerful Truth Initiative video explains more. 
HCCA In the News!
Click the image above
to read the full report!
HCCA Announces
Health Improvement
Plan Priorities
Thank you for your input! This past year, dozens of community members helped HCCA identify local public health and quality of life needs. These priorities, balanced with local public health data, will inform HCCA’s work for the foreseeable future.
CHIP Priority Areas
1. Community Connectedness 
  • older adults living in isolation
  • and/or experiencing dementia or Alzheimer's
  • free, family-friendly events for all
  • overall sense of community connectedness - intergenerational

2. Equity 
  • poverty as root a cause for many/most issues
3. Traditional Public Health Issues 
  • substance use prevention, including vaping and behavioral health
  • physical activity
  • nutrition
  • access to healthy foods

4. Climate 
  • impacts on health - heat, ticks, air/water quality, weather events
Transportation and housing were identified as priority areas that are outside of HCCA’s scope of work, but will be integrated as feasible and appropriate.

To learn more about the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), read the Phase I report, and how you can become more involved, visit HCCA’s website
or contact Renee Page
Thank you to The Bingham Program for generously supporting this project. Next steps include setting a timeline and goals, and identifying partners and resources to meet the goals.
Our Community Health Champions
Jodi Beck
Benjamin Brown
Patrick Cheek
Samantha Deming-Berr
Cathleen Dunlap
Deborah Emery
Patricia Hart
Patricia Hopkins
Ranae L'Italien
Lisa Miller
Sarah Miller
Barbara Moss
Merry St. Pierre
Ashley Tetreault
Courtney Yeager
YOU can help to support HCCA
  1. Buy a Hannaford Gift Card from HCCA and 5% of the purchase price goes to support HCCA programs. Contact Jane Hutchinson to learn more.
  2. Log onto Amazon Smile and select Healthy Communities of the Capital as your charity. Click on this quick demo to learn how.
  3. Go to our website and click on the DONATE button.