Group gets grant to reduce heart disease cases in Pearl River County
Published 7:00 am Friday, October 2, 2015
In an effort to further reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in Pearl River County, the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation awarded a second $100,000 grant to Manna Ministries, Inc.’s Heart 2 Heart initiative.
The program was initiated almost two years ago, Manna Ministries CEO Jameye Martin said. During that time, more than 500 participants have lost weight and lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“For a few years, we talked about what we do to lower heart disease in Pearl River County,” Martin said. “We are the third largest landmass in the state and I’m just tired of our state being the first in things we don’t need to be.”
Heart disease is one of the number one killers in Mississippi, Martin said, and she believes that’s due to a lack of health education.
Heart 2 Heart gives people the tools they can use to be healthy for the rest of their lives, she said.
The program is free of charge and open to those with or without health insurance, Martin said.
Program participants attend extensive nutrition and dietary classes and receive information regarding stress management, she said.
“We also identify barriers to success and how to overcome those,” Martin said. “We exercise and also teach lifestyle management. We cover all the risk factors.”
Participants also learn how the body works and the effects of long term elevated blood sugar and blood pressure, Martin said.
Several community healthcare providers also speak during a guest lecture series, she said. The next speaker will be Dr. Jeff Buntin from Highland Community Hospital who will speak about the neurological effects of elevated sugar levels and blood pressure.
People are losing weight and lowering their blood sugars, Martin said. Manna staff utilize a tracking system by checking blood work, weight, blood pressure and sugar every three months.
“The program usually lasts about a year for each participant,” Martin said. “People get out of it what they put into it. We do mail reminders and meet with participants one-on-one to discuss troubles they may encounter.”
One major roadblock is transportation, she said. However, before the end of year, Martin plans to have an educational booklet and DVDs of speakers to provide to those who are without reliable transportation.
Manna Ministries was founded in 1999 and, since, has provided free medical care to patients not only in Pearl River County, but Hancock County and St. Tammany Parish.
“If people are in need, I don’t care where they live,” Martin said. “If I can help them, I will.”
Manna’s clinic is located at 120 Street A Suite A in Picayune’s Industrial Park. There is also a second site in Poplarville at the Lighthouse of Hope Assembly of God Church.
A calendar of events is available at the Picayune location, she said.
“Thank you to the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation for helping us to reach our goals,” Martin said. “It validates what we’re trying to do and makes a world of difference. Without their support, I don’t know what we would be able to do.”
The program is also funded by AstraZeneca Healthcare Foundation, she said.
Learn more about Manna Ministries, Inc. at www.mannaministry.net and through Facebook and Twitter.
Contact them by phone at 601-799-2121 and by email at Dixie@mannaministry.net.