They can be found out and about working at the seasonal farmer’s market in the township or helping to identify and measure walking routes in the town. One of their most well-attended projects was assisting Neptune High School and Neptune Middle School students with picking up cigarette butts in the township’s parks in an effort to make Neptune a healthier place.
They are all members of Move and Improve Neptune.
The group’s commitment is to have residents “make the healthy choice the easy choice,” acccording to Dawn Thompson, who is Neptune Township Recreation Director. Thompson and Molly Berkowitz of Meridian Health are both co-chairs of the Move and Improve Neptune.
“We had a core group of 10 when we first started. Altogether right now there are 20 of us but we are always looking for more volunteers,” Thompson said. “We welcome new people to join us with our efforts.”
“Move and Improve Neptune exists to create environmental change supporting healthy behaviors concerning nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco and to help motivate the Neptune community to make healthier choices.”
Thompson called Move and Improve Neptune “an exciting new initiative – a collaboration of local community volunteers backed by national efforts, including CDC funding, in a movement to create healthier places where people live, learn, work and play.” Its purpose, she said, is to create a healthier environment with healthier community members.
The group received a $50,000 grant in 2012 and began defining goals.
The seasonal farmer’s market in a work in progress.
“We held the first one in October 2012 at Midtown Commons,” Thompson said. “It went over well with nine vendors selling baked goods, jams, honey, fruits and vegetables. In 2013 the market never really got off the ground. It was one hiccup after another, a lot of it was due to the weather. We will definetely have the market this summer but we just need to revamp some things. We will be looking for volunteers to help set up and call various farmers,” she added.
Thompson said that the Neptune Township Committee is always “supportive of healthy initiatives” and opportunies for other grants will continue to be looked for to aid the township.
Move and Improve Neptune is currently in need of more volunteers and welcomes new people to join the group. For more information call Thompson at 732-869-1202.
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