The Start of Something New

Piney Grove Baptist Church has been a neighbor to La Salle University for at least 26 years. The church is located on N.17th St in Philadelphia,PA.

The students at La Salle University recently helped the church and the community by painting a mural on the church’s daycare center located across the street. This took place on April 17th-19th this year. The mural shines a light on how beautiful the neighborhood around La Salle can be.Piney 49

Reverend Robert Paul has been serving the Lord and the community for 26 years. Throughout his time at Piney Grove he and his congregation have done wonderful things to improve the lives of the children and young adults in their community.

The church sponsors food drives, serve meals to the homeless, and serve senior citizens in their church every Wednesday.

(Reverend Robert Paul & Daycare Director Victoria)  Above

The Reverend believes that nutrition is key to growth and development in children and young adults today. Piney Grove Baptist is one of the organizations that is part of the ever growing “Exploring Nutrition Project”    which is due to launch in the fall of 2013.

La Salle University is partnered up with The Fresh Grocer to ensure that there is access to quality and fresh food and health education in the neighborhood surrounding La Salle University’s campus.

“A Place at the Table” Hits Close to Home

According to “A Place at the Table”,directed by Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush, there are 49 million people in the U.S and in every one of four children in the U.S do not know where their next meal is coming from. This is a powerful statement and makes people aware and maybe question, why?

One of the families followed was Barbie Izquierdo,  who is struggling on a daily basis to feed her children. Barbie a Philadelphia native is wondering why the government does not take poverty or hunger seriously in the United States. ‘

Her struggle became even harder when she landed a low income job and was making just above the income level to be eligible for food stamps.

“She was cut off immediately,” Silverbush said. “And her children, as a consequence of her working, were cut off from a state-subsidized day care, where they received healthy meals. Ironically, after going to work and fulfilling her side of the ‘social contract,’ as we like to think of it, her children were hungrier than before.

This is an issue that is relevant here in Philadelphia and hopefully Exploring Nutrition can help be a part of a bigger movement.

” Watch an excerpt from Barbie’s portion of the film:

I need some brief research on the Community Health Data Base provided by La Salle University and i made a chart based off obesity in this neighborhood by using the (ZIPs = 19138, 19141). The results were surprising but not ridiculous.

Here is the chart below:


Here is an article that goes into detail about the struggles of eating healthy from the Community Health Data Base. The article goes from the access to healthy food to the high unaffordable prices for fruits in vegetables in an urban area. It is worth the read and will give you a deeper look into what people actually buy and what they are really eating.

The Roots of Piney Grove

This is a 10 minute video telling the story of Piney Grove Baptist Church and the good works they have done for the Philadelphia community and with the help of La Salle University by their side helping to make a difference. In the video present is Reverend Robert Paul and daycare director Victoria Wilmore.

They talk about what Piney Grove has contributed to their community and how they look forward to accomplishing their goals.

Some of which include, getting more street lights to make the neighborhood safe, reaching a higher level in quality childcare, maintaining and securing the children’s garden, and the continuance of working hand in hand with the great people at La Salle University who take their time to be a part o the community and give a reaching hand out to Piney Grove baptist church.

This project has gone full circle and there is more to come when it launches in the fall. From Piney Grove, to the documentary “A Place at the Table”, and back to La Salle University and The Fresh Grocer.

Hunger and bad nutrition is an epidemic in the United States and a food culture needs to be instituted in order for the people of this country to use their full potential.

In order to learn, you have to move away from what you know in order for change to take place. Hopefully this community will accept change and start the movement for better health and nutrition in their lives.


Having A Plan

The Plan idea.gif2

Dom: Pictures, Notes, Shooting

Mike: Editing, Shooting

Rene: Pictures, Interviews, Shooting

* We can all take turns using the camera if anyone feels uncomfortable, since we all have some experience in using one.

Mission Statement:

The overall purpose of this video is to shine a light on the good works that these neighboring churches do especially Piney Grove Baptist church. The specific goals in telling this story is to do a profile on Piney Grove Baptist and get a deeper look at what they have contributed to community over the years and what they plan on doing in the future.

The components needed will be  pictures of the church and the food supply they keep along with pictures of their daycare center. Interviews with Pastor Robert H. Paul and Victoria Wilmore, who is in charge of the daycare center. Video footage will also be needed to tell Piney Grove’s story and their work with La Salle University and the community.

Once all of the research is conducted and we have gathered all the information and footage we need it should be easy to pick and choose the right parts to tell a great story.


Questions for Reverend Robert H. Paul:

1. How long have you been the pastor of this church and has there been any beneficial changes made since you’ve been here?

2. What does nutrition mean to you? Your definition.

3. How often does Piney Grove conduct food drives or other aids that help provide food for the area?

4. Was being one of seven hard? And did you ever feel that your parents struggled to prepare well balanced meals for you and your siblings?

5. If yes, why/how and what were your meals like? Did you ever go hungry as a child?

6. Tell me more about your position as one of the Board of Directors of the Logan Improvement Association.

7. On the churches website it states that you and your wife have been married for 42 years. Does she support and also add to your decisions to the church and is she as active in the community as you are?

8. What does Piney Grove contribute to the community center across the street?

9. Do you think that families and individuals in the area will accept change if healthier food choices were available, why or why not?

10. How often do you work with other churches?

Questions for Victoria Willmore:

1. When did the daycare center open and have you always been in charge of it?

2. What is the range of ages of the children that attend the daycare?

3. Is the service provided free for the parents/guardians?

4. Do you provide Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner for the children or have a snack time? If yes, what do you serve them?

5. Do the children engage in any outside or indoor activities that allow them to be active and promote exercise?

6. Are the other employees that help you with the children?

7. How do you feel about the food choices in this neighborhood?

8. Have you ever noticed any changes in behavior or moodiness in any of the children because of what they eat? If yes, then ask for an example.

9. What are your hopes for Piney Grove in the future?

10. Do you feel like Piney Grove does its part by helping the community? If yes, how?

A Place at the Table (Review)

The movie A Place at the Table was just released this past Friday, March 1, 2013. This compelling documentary tells the story of 50 million American that struggle on a day-to-day basis to provide food for themselves and their loved ones. America is one of the richest countries in the world and yet has to battle hunger. Americans and the government are in denial and are turning a blind eye on what society really needs, nutrition. Jeff Bridges who helped with the documentary and leads multiple organizations in aid of ending world hunger especially in America. “People are ashamed of acknowledging and so is the government. We’re in denial” said Bridges. The documentary talks about food insecurity which is when people are not sure of where their next meal is coming from and also food deserts which are places with barely any access to healthy foods. The follows people in three different states, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi. Mississippi being the highest rated place of food insecurity and obesity according to the documentary.

In Colorado, there is a young girl named Rosie that is in the fifth grade and is living in poverty. Her teacher and local pastor try and help the people of the community by providing food bags and warm meals after school. The teacher often feels bad giving families the food bags because they mostly contain starches and foods full of sugar, but she says that some effort is better than none. Rosie lives with six other people in her house and it is hard for them to make food last. Her mother works at a local restaurant making only $121.00 every two weeks. Hunger is prevalent in their town and the people are desperate. Hunger has affected Rosie’s academics and her ability to focus. Rosie’s dream is to be on the honor roll and for her future children not to live in the conditions that she does.

Next, there is Barbie from Philadelphia who is raising her two young children. Barbie has been out of work for sometime now and is getting help from the state. Although she is getting food stamps there is not enough money on those cards to help her give her children adequate food. Her youngest child Aidan is suffering from speech delay and other illnesses because of his poor nutrition. Barbie and other mothers from the area went with a doctor to lobby at one of congress’s meetings to share their experiences and their desperate need for help. Barbie now has a full-time job but it is still not enough to support and feed her herself let alone her children.

In Mississippi, there was a second grade teacher named Odessa, who was just diagnosed with diabetes last year. She wants to help her students understand what healthy eating is and what choices they can make when they go to the supermarket with their parents. She introduced honeydew to her students and they all enjoyed the experience and the taste. Education is key to helping the youth.

The government is taking money out of these programs to fund other things. Nutrition for America’s children and families should be a main priority in order to have a thriving country. Charity is not going to solve the problem. This documentary is very educational and moving and helps individuals see what is going on in America. This documentary makes individuals aware and shows that hunger us real, not only abroad but in our backyard.

Let’s Move

lets move

According to Michelle Obama:

  • 10 percent of schools in the U.S have physical education in their schools.
  • Children spend at least seven hours a day in front of some type of screen.

Michelle Obama just launched a new movement on February 28, 2013. This movement is to help kids get more active in school and lead healthier lifestyles. She shared this with the rest of the on Thursday, February, 28, 2013 on Dr.Oz last week. She wants to remake school lunches and teach kids how to make healthy choices even if they have to eat our. Do they have to choose the Big Mac and large fries? or can they just get a regular hamburger with small fries? These are the choices they can make. Getting kids to move is just as important as getting good test scores in school. All the resources are available online on how to get this started in your local school.

Word on the street

Walking around 19th and Olney I spotted three people that I felt could give me good answers on what the food is like in their neighborhood. It was a windy day so I had to be quick but the answers were still beneficial to this ongoing project. There were mixed views on healthy access of food in this neighborhood, but the majority felt that there needed to be more places where they can access healthy food for their families.

The interviewee’s were:

1. Aviry

2. Vince

3. Chauntey

Nutrition Background

The United States as a whole has no food culture. There are contest that glamorize binge eating, such as the Wing Bowl that just happened last month. America needs to take a look at what food is doing to its country and the people who live in it. Obesity is a problem that continues to flourish as time goes by and perhaps the prices of healthy food can be a factor. Fast food and soft drinks are a lot cheaper than a head of lettuce. One can buy a chicken tender meal at Checker’s with fries and a drink for only $2. Because of these low prices in urban neighborhoods and all around cause families to opt out of healthy options. Nutrition may always be a worldwide problem, but it does not have to be. With people aware of the damages that poor eating can do to children and adults, more people can stand up and make better choices.

Michelle Obama launched MyPlate in the summer of 2011. MyPlate is now the new model for healthy eating instead of the Food Pyramid that was introduced in 1992. Although this website is a good toll for parents and children to follow, not everyone has access to the internet and its resources. There needs to be more hands on activity when it come to better nutrition. There are many people dedicated to seeing improvement in different communities.

Urban Food

The Neighborhood Health and Nutrition Project (NHNP) will officially be launched in August 2013. La Salle University and Fresh Grocer have come together to help bring fresh produce and knowledge about the benefits of healthy eating and living in the city. Access to fresh fruits and vegetables is limited in some parts of the city and the prices of these healthy products are not reasonable for most of the families struggling to get by. My English 402 class and I  are conducting research around the area to see what we find in regards to access to nutritious products.Shown below are a few pictures showing what grocery stores and fast food places have to offer the community.


(Church’s Chicken on Broad and Erie)

This photo was shot on January 28, 2013 at the corner of Broad and Erie. Basically on every street corner there is a fast food restaurant. This picture was taken during the afternoon and the restaurant was full. The prices seem reasonable for the people who otherwise would not have time or the money to make something at home. This seems like a go-to alternative for most families in the city, because not only is the food enjoyable but the price is right.


(Produce section at Shop N’ Bag on Broad and Blavis)

There looks like there are plenty of fresh vegetables in this store, but the question is are the vegetables presented really fresh? That is another issue that is raised concerning urban food.


(Wilson’s market on Broad and Olney)

I did not get a chance to go inside this store, but from the outside. However, it shows that it offers a variety of food. They sell everything from seafood to hoagies. This tiny stores does not look like a place that someone would spend time in looking for nutritious and beneficial options for their family’s dinners. Wilson’s Market looks like mostly a one-stop shop for lunch or maybe even an apple if you crave the taste.

A Deeper Look