Manna Ministries receives grant
Manna Ministries was one of 13 organizations to receive a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation.
During a press conference held Monday morning at Manna Ministries in Picayune, a check for $152,763 was issued to the organization to continue their Heart 2 Heart Initiative. This is the second consecutive year that the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation provided a grant to fund the local program, said Manna Ministries Program Manager Dixie Reneault. The first grant established the program, she said.
AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation President Richard Buckley said Manna Ministries was one of 13 total organizations nationwide that received grants from the foundation this year.
The project is a year-long system of classes people attend at their leisure. Reneault said five of the classes are mandatory and cover nutrition, lifestyle behavior modification, risk factors, stress management and medication management. Ten other classes are also available covering topics such as addiction recovery.
Participants only need to attend each class once, which are offered in the morning and evening once a month, Reneault said.
In the classes, participants learn how to make big changes in their life by starting small. What would begin as 15 minutes of activity would eventually turn into an hour under the program, Reneault said. But the participant has to be willing.
“If they’re not motivated for change, no program is going to work,” Reneault said.
At the end of the course participants are presented with a certificate of completion.
To get the word out, representatives of Manna Ministries hold and attend promotional events combined with public speaking. The events also feature glucose and blood pressure checks to help people establish whether they are at risk for cardiovascular disease.
Program participants have lab work conducted every three months at Manna Ministries, which provides them with a set of statistics they can use to track their progress towards lowering their glucose and blood pressure numbers.
Since the program is grant funded, Reneault said she is looking for more grants or donations to help the program proceed past its second year.
“We’re hoping it will be someone else who will pick up the torch and keep the program funded,” Reneault said.
Two participants gave testimonials about the program.Cecilia Harget said she lost 87 pounds through the program, but she is not stopping there.
“When you know better, you do better,” Harget said.
Jackie Adams said he learned about stress management and how to increase his overall health. Adams said the instructors and participants made him feel like part of the family.
Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero Jr., said city officials are proud to have an organization such as Manna Ministries in the municipality.
State Senators Angela Hill and Tony Smith both read proclamations from the State Senate and Governor Phil Bryant’s office respectively, both of which declared Monday as Connections for Cardiovascular Health Day.
“We do have hearts that care,” Hill said.
Smith said Mississippi currently stands at the top of the list for diabetes cases in the nation, and is second on the list for obesity. He said by taking a few small steps in changing lifestyle habits, big benefits will occur.
Anyone interested in joining the program can call Reneault at 601-916-8191. The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is accepting applications for next year’s grant cycle until Feb. 26, Buckley said. To apply visit www.astrazeneca-us.com/foundation.