Winter Newsletter
January 2021
Join us for 12 Days of Fitness!
Day 1 Challenge: Walk, jog, run, or hike an extra mile!
Whether you add a new item every day and end up doing 12 things the last day, or just fit in one healthy activity per day, join us for 12 Days of Fitness!

SNAP-Ed Coordinator Rachael Reynolds created a guide to add activities to promote physical and mental health, from drinking more water to meditating. Try the daily challenge or tailor it to suit your life and goals!

Coming Soon!
Join us for our Virtual Cabin Fever Challenge! Help support HCCA to continue offering programs that promote healthy living in Southern Kennebec County by participating and/or donating.

HCCA SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator featured in Maine Public's Dash of Maine Holiday Cooking Challenge
SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Alexis Guy partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry to feature locally grown winter squash in the Maine Public Dash of Maine Holiday Cooking Challenge.
Filming took place in October and the video aired Friday, December 11.

Watch the clip, try the highlighted squash dinner roll recipe, and find other recipes from the challenge on the Dash of Maine site
HCCA Awards Eight
Let's Go! Mini grants
A total of $6,000 was awarded to registered Let's Go! sites for projects to make sustainable environmental change that supports Let's Go! 5-2-1-0 strategies to make the healthy choice the easy choice for children in Southern Kennebec County.
RSU 38
Angela Palmer - Maranacook Middle School
Snowshoes for staff and students to use on "Walking Wednesdays" over the winter months
Jada Clark - Readfield Elementary School/Melissa Small - Readfield Library
Materials to build and install permanent story walks at Readfield Elementary and
Readfield Library
Augusta Schools
Brenda Weis - Cony High School
Equipment for physical activity "Brain Break Bags" for students in health class
Megan Sutherburg - Laura E. Richards Elementary School
Nutrition education equipment for K-2nd grade students and
playground equipment for outdoor play
Southern Kennebec Child Development Corporation
Carrie Bartunek - Chelsea Head Start
Durable physical activity equipment for children to improve gross
motor skills indoors and outdoors
Julie Plummer - Gardiner, Magic Years, Webster, S. Gardiner, Home-Based, Lake Region
Physical activity equipment ~ Cooking equipment
Books to implement "Eat Healthy, Stay Active!" Program
Hall-Dale After School Program
Carolee Shepherd
Snowshoes and sleds for children to use on trails outdoors after school
Monmouth YMCA Kids Club
Sonya Duloc
Snowshoes for children to use outdoors on trails after school
hosted 50 Maine Farm to School 
stakeholders in action planning
on Nov. 5 via Zoom! 
Here are the top strategic priorities that emerged for 2020-2023

  • Maine Farm to School Institute: creating a Maine-focused version of the Northeast Farm to School Institute that will provide training and support to help schools develop action plans for incorporating or expanding farm to school activities.

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: increasing support for and participation of historically marginalized Maine communities in farm to school programs and leadership, including diversifying network membership.

  • Fundraising: engaging in raising funds to support school / local farm to school programs.

  • Policy Advocacy: mobilizing members to advocate for state and/or school district policies that support farm to school programs.

  • Training and Technical Assistance: coordinating and promoting training and technical assistance to help schools with procurement and preparation of local foods.

Stay tuned for a full report from this meeting and next steps that will be uploaded soon onto the MFSN website.
2020 Maine Farm to School Success Story
Sea to School at RSU 12 Sheepscot Valley
In response to the pandemic, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association launched a Fishermen Feeding Mainers program and partnered with Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition to offer free Gulf of Maine harvested hake filets to school nutrition programs across Maine.

Even amidst the challenges of feeding students during COVID-19, Maine Farm to School Network Leadership Council member and RSU 12 School Nutrition Director Mike Flynn sources local hake, haddock, and pollock to serve the students in his district.
“Seafood is and has always been a part of Maine's economy and culture. It is important to remind children about the local resources we have as residents. Anytime you can expose kids to the variety of foods that are available – from classroom education to the lunch room menu – it benefits their lives. Even though Maine is plentiful with seafood, school nutrition rarely has access – what a unique and great program!”
Mike Flynn-MFSN Leadership Council member
Read the article about this partnership in

Learn more about the
HCCA Receives Federal Grant
to continue
Drug Free Communities Work
HCCA is the recipient of a $125,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This means our work with Gardiner Area Thrives Coalition can continue!

"Given the current pandemic, it has never been more important to support our local youth and their families in any way we can to prevent substance misuse," said Patricia Buck-Welton, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator. "HCCA is so grateful to continue our work as a Drug Free Communities Grant recipient and home to the Gardiner Area Thrives Coalition to mobilize local people to educate our youth about addiction and promote healthier alternatives."

U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced the grant Dec. 2, stating, "Across our state, the pandemic’s economic and social impacts have magnified substance use challenges for too many Maine people. As necessary health precautions such as social distancing make it harder for Mainers to access support systems, it is more vital than ever that we increase our outreach."

HCCA's work with Gardiner Area Thrives will continue to convene local partners to address these concerns.

"It takes the whole community to support healthy norms and reduce misuse of substances," said Patricia. "We are excited that many community members and school representatives are part of the coalition." 

If you want to join Gardiner Area Thrives Coalition
Contact Carrie Arsenault or 
Patricia Buck-Welton
Watch for an announcement of a NEW Gardiner Area Thrives
website coming in February 2021
“Dry January”
A New
Wellness Trend
Dry January started in 2013 in the UK with 4,000 people committing to an alcohol-free month; in 2020, over 100,000 signed up and 4 million people participated throughout the year.
Here are just a few of the benefits that participants reported: 
86% Saved money
70% Had better sleep
66% Had more energy
65% Had generally improved health
Why Consider "Dry January" after 2020?
Since the start of the pandemic, sales
of at-home alcohol have seen a spike of nearly 27%. 
Although that doesn’t take into account shutdowns of bars and restaurants nationwide, it suggests people are turning to alcohol to cope with a life-altering crisis.

Alcohol has the potential to further complicate the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple ways. Alcohol misuse both activates the immune system, causing inflammation, and interferes with the body’s immune response to viral and bacterial infections. In the lungs, excessive alcohol damages epithelial cells that line the lung surface and is associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Ultimately, impaired immune system function and an increased susceptibility to respiratory illness and contribute to more severe COVID-19 and greater risk of mortality.
Here are some reasons to consider trying your own "Dry January"
  1.  You don’t like your relationship with alcohol
  2. You want more energy
  3. You’re raising money for a charity
  4. You’re building up to a big event
  5. You want to look better
  6. You or your partner is pregnant or trying to become pregnant
  7. Someone else has suggested you cut back
  8. You have health concerns or your GP has suggested a change
  9. You’re training for a sporting event
  10. You want to save money
  11. Just because

Did you know?
4 out of 5 kids who try tobacco
start with flavors...
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 to continue the work you've read about above!
  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.