News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda – The Bermuda Health Council (“Council”) announced its healthy food initiative earlier thissummer to help create some grassroots solutions to the challenge of accessing healthy foods that some communities face. Since the launch of its Fresh Food Fridays, the Council has collected feedback to better understand why the challenges exist or what barriers there may be for us as a country to live a little healthier.
Through this initiative, we have found that there is indeed some reluctance to take “free” things and there are real preferences for morning meals such as coffee and donuts. There are actual inabilities to consume some of the healthy items offered due to their dietary restrictions, and there are indeed individuals who cannot bite into a hard apple due to dental issues.
As hundreds of individuals pass during the mornings we hear:
“I never eat breakfast.”
“Wow, it’s free. Why?!”
“Oh man, I can’t have fruit.”
“Can I have more than one?”
“No thank you, I don’t eat fruit.”
“Thank you! You’ve made my day!”
“I’ll grab some when I come back later.”
“Yeah, I only do coffee and donuts in the morning!”
“Do you guys take donations? Is there any way we can help?”
“My coworker said they were giving away fruit, so I came down.”
“I appreciate what you are doing; we’ve got to get people to eat right.”
“Oranges are nice and all, but are you going to have watermelon next week.”
Each Friday we are learning more and more about the psychology of healthy eating and getting better insights into the social determinants that affect all of our choices.
Lena Hassell, Outreach Coordinator said: “Increasing access to healthy food plays a vital role in the overall health of our community. We are revolutionising the way people receive healthy foods to make it easier for our residents to make better food choices. With healthier options, they can change their habits and prevent chronic diseases.”
This commitment is part of the Council’s ongoing corporate vision to achieve a quality, equitable and sustainable health system. We know that an apple on a Friday is not a magic wand for curing our health system ills, but we believe that community-based action can ignite a fire of change in how we see our best selves and help each other in doing the same.
We also believe that simple actions from non-traditional groups can create the momentum we all need to support ongoing efforts taking place at the Department of Health, churches and doctors’ offices alike. The Council has provided free fresh fruits and vegetables on Fridays for the last few months at locations such as: Bermuda College, Washington Mall, Bermuda
Industrial Union, Ministry of Health and Bank of Butterfield. The Council recognises that creative solutions need to be implemented in order to help create a healthier Bermuda.
Dr Ricky Brathwaite, Acting CEO and Director, Health Economics states: “I know there has been some criticism of the Health Council as a regulator of healthcare delving into promoting healthy lifestyle and giving away food to those that may find it challenging to afford. Of course, it is not the natural role of an organisation like ours to do these things, outside of Christmas time, while at the same working to set the health policies that affect the country’s economy, businesses and communities alike.
“I get it, but when your team wants to do something in support of the people we hear from on a daily basis, and truly enjoys the engagement with the public that we are tasked to serve, I figure the smiles that we have seen and the questions that we are asked, are worth a little bit of criticism.”
The Health Council is encouraging residents of Bermuda to participate in this initiative and welcomes volunteers to assist at any of their pop-up locations. To volunteer, contact us at 292-6420 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.