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Medica Foundation Grant Launches Community Life Department at Hammer

By Julane Rose and Emily Miller, Hammer Residences, Inc.

In January 2014, Hammer received some great news. We were awarded a $30,000 grant from the Medica Foundation to expand our healthy living initiatives into a Community Life Department. A Program Coordinator was hired to create activities that more comprehensively addressed nutrition, fitness and personal wellness for people with disabilities at Hammer homes.

A first order of business was to create a user-friendly system to communicate, provide wellness resources and track participation in activities. Hammer staff and the individuals we serve were invited to participate in a friendly competition tracking water intake, fruit and vegetable servings, and exercise. Prizes like Twins Tickets and MN Zoo passes and were awarded. The Medica Foundation grant also expanded Hammer’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, with 36 of 46 homes participating.

The results have been nothing short of remarkable.  

Anthony Lott made significant changes in his lifestyle. “Anthony NEVER used to eat vegetables,” but with staff encouragement, he tried different vegetables and researched healthy recipes. He also purchased a bicycle and started biking around Eden Prairie. Now he enjoys healthy foods and exercising regularly. He is super proud of himself!”

Cathy Otto lost 27 pounds since June and says she “feels much healthier.” More importantly, she has been able to lower her blood pressure medication dosage, a meaningful example of the health impact from the program.   

“Ordinary changes in eating, shopping, socializing and exercising help develop inner motivation,” believes John Estrem, CEO. “Hammer is dedicated to the continued success of the Community Life department and the culture of wellness it promotes.”

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