WINDOM, MN – Today the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) awarded two grants in Windom as part of its 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, a year-long effort to make Super Bowl LII a statewide event by awarding 52 communities with grants that will help improve the health and wellness of young people in Minnesota.
The MNSBHC Legacy Fund awarded the Windom Area Hospital with a $75,000 grant to help construct a walking path that will be equipped with various exercise and wellness stations. It awarded a separate $30,000 grant to the Windom Area School District to facilitate Breakfast-in-the-classroom at Windom Area School District schools.
To commemorate the grants, the MNSBHC Legacy Fund hosted a breakfast celebration and ground breaking event today at the Windom Area Hospital Campus. Former Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson and Viktor the Viking lead local students in exercises to encourage healthy habits and physical activity through fun and play.
The wellness path will be built around the hospital campus and will be a free resource for residents in Windom and surrounding communities. There will be 15-20 pieces of cardio and strength equipment spread out along the path. Windom Area Hospital will coordinate with local public schools to give students in Windom the chance to use the walking path for field trips and exercise programs.
“Research shows that in Cottonwood County, two out of three people are overweight or obese and only 32 percent get enough physical activity on a regular basis,” said Shelby Medina, Chief Executive Officer, Windom Area Hospital. “We recognize this problem in our community and are thankful to the MNSBHC Legacy Fund for helping us fund a project that will help us combat obesity. The walking path will provide a convenient new way for adults and young people to be active, together.”
Windom Area Hospital already participates in multiple initiatives to help young people in Windom. It facilitates a summer athletic conditioning camp in coordination with Windom Schools, and co-leads a "Food, Fun and Fitness" summer program with 4-H focused on health behaviors for local children. The hospital maintenance staff will maintain the path, grounds and equipment during the year.
“We are so pleased to support this effort to bring new resources for health and nutrition to families and children in Windom,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships for the MNSBHC Legacy Fund. “By building the walking path at Windom Area Hospital and adding breakfast carts to facilitate healthy, nutritious food options to all students at three schools here, the kids and families in this community will have more opportunity to stay active and healthy.”
In addition to the grant announcement for Windom Area Hospital, the MNSBHC Legacy Fund will provide a $30,000 grant to purchase the equipment and infrastructure needed to bring Breakfast-in-the-classroom to three schools: Windom High School, Windom Middle School and Winfair Elementary School.
Super School Breakfast is a campaign to help implement Fuel Up to Play 60’s Breakfast-in-the-Classroom program in elementary, middle and high schools in 52 communities statewide leading up to Super Bowl LII. The program is a cornerstone of the MNSBHC Legacy Fund’s ‘Fun, Fuel, and Fundamentals’ initiative to help Minnesota children build lifelong healthy habits. Super School Breakfast is in partnership with Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Midwest Dairy Council.
The Food Research & Action Council (FRAC) reports that more than 140,000 students in Minnesota who are eligible for free and reduced school meals take advantage of lunch, but not breakfast programs. The report also notes Minnesota currently ranks 43rd out of 50 states in offering school breakfast.
According to a Current Nutrition & Food Science Journal report, allowing students to take breakfast to their class increases participation and helps remove the stigma associated with students reporting to the cafeteria to receive a free or reduced meal. Students who participate in school breakfast also show improved attendance, behavior, and decreased tardiness.
In celebration of Minnesota’s Super Bowl year, the MNSBHC will make the Vikings’ Fuel Up to Play 60 outreach program ‘Super’ by turning the annual grants into a year-long program leading up to the Big Game. Since 2010, more than $300,000 has been provided by the state’s dairy farm families to Minnesota schools to support breakfast programs, and as a result more than 211,000 students have access to breakfast at school.
“The Midwest dairy farmers are invested in helping Minnesota youth establish healthy eating habits to win back our position as the healthiest state in the nation,” said Lucas Lentsch, CEO of the Midwest Dairy Council. “Recent surveys rank Minnesota as 4th in the nation in healthy kids – down from our previous position on top of the list.”
More information on the MNSBHC’s Legacy program, including an introductory video, can be found at www.mnsuperbowl.com/legacy. The MNSBHC Legacy Fund’s Super School Breakfast initiative is funded by the NFL Foundation, the General Mills Foundation and the Minnesota Vikings.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is a private, non-profit corporation formed to plan and execute Super Bowl LII. For more information visit www.mnsuperbowl.com and follow @mnsuperbowl2018 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.