Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and City Year Host 9th Annual Service Day

Students from Hallsville Elementary School joined 100 volunteers to plant garden to increase access to fresh produce for New Hampshire families.

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Volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and City Year joined forces today to build picnic tables at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Annual Day of Service held at the Rooting for Families Community Garden Collaborative located at Manchester Community College.

MANCHESTER, NH –More than 100 volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Elliot Hospital, Great NH Restaurants, and the NH Fisher Cats recently joined City Year New Hampshire for Harvard Pilgrim’s ninth annual day of service at the Rooting for Families Community Garden Collaborative located at Manchester Community College. Volunteers on June 2

planted seeds and seedlings in the community garden, built a children’s play area and picnic tables, and hosted healthy cooking and exercise workshops outdoors on the campus of the Manchester Community College. A second group of volunteers also worked at the community garden located on the Dartmouth Hitchcock Manchester campus.

Approximately 50 Hallsville Elementary school students joined the volunteers and participated in:

  • Helping to weed and maintain the forest garden
  • healthy cooking demonstrations by chefs from Great NH Restaurants
  • playing fitness games with staff from the NH Fisher Cats.
Left to right – Hava Causevic, NH Natural Resources Steward and Community Gardener; Bill Brewster, MD, Vice President and Regional Market Leader of NH for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Dr. Susan Huard, President of Manchester Community College; Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas; Janelle Woods-McNish, Director of Service and Giving for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation; and Mary Tebo-Davis, UNH Cooperative Extension.

“Working with the Rooting for Families Community Garden Collaborative to help prepare and plant their garden aligns with Harvard Pilgrim’s initiatives to improve access to fresh healthy food in our region,” said William Brewster, MD, Vice President and Regional Market Leader of New Hampshire for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. “We are thrilled to grab our gardening gloves and shovels alongside our partners at Dartmouth Hitchcock to plant seedlings and build an outdoor play and kitchen area at the garden for the community to enjoy.”

Harvard Pilgrim collaborated this year with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, one of its partners in Elevate Health, a health insurance plan for N.H. residents focused on a team-based approach to quality health care.

From left, Melissa Skarupa Community Relations Manager at Dartmouth Hitchcock; Bill Brewster, MD, Vice President and Regional Market Leader of NH for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; and Dr. Mike Gilbert, Medical Director at Dartmouth Hitchcock Concord, pause from loading mulch into wheelbarrows to add to the garden beds at Rooting for Families Community Garden Collaborative located at Manchester Community College.

“Dartmouth-Hitchcock has a strong and longstanding commitment to Manchester and the citizens of the region,” said Dr. James N. Weinstein, CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock.. With Harvard-Pilgrim and others, we are focused on improving the health of our communities in ways that go far beyond the traditional hospital and clinic walls. Given our ‘deep roots’ in the city, it’s entirely fitting that we come together with our partners to ensure that the Community Garden Collaborative continue to flourish for the benefit of all those we are privileged to serve.”

In addition, NH Fisher Cats’ team members and staff hosted a fitness clinic for Hallsville Elementary students, and Harvard Pilgrim employees and Great NH Restaurants’ chefs and staff hosted healthy eating and cooking workshops for the students..

Two 3rd graders from Hallsville Elementary School in Manchester learn to make fruit salsa with the chefs at Great NH Restaurants at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Annual Day of Service held at the Rooting for Families Community Garden Collaborative located at Manchester Community College.

“The Rooting for Families Community Gardens Collaborative is a true grassroots volunteer initiative,” said Mary Tebo Davis, UNH Cooperative Extension. “We are so grateful to the many additional volunteers today that helped build picnic tables and a shade structure, create a natural playscape for families including a tree ID trail and a teepee, and maintain our forest gardens that provide additional fresh food for the families. Everyone working together is what helps us continue to build community into the garden.”

Additional volunteers included A.J. Dupere, of the NH Division of Forests and Lands, as well as natural resources’ stewards, NH permaculture community members and community gardeners. Volunteers wrapped up the service day with a barbecue lunch provided by Great NH Restaurants.

Community Service Days in New Hampshire are part of Harvard Pilgrim’s corporate commitment to the state. In 2016, Harvard Pilgrim’s charitable giving and service in the region totaled $2.4 million and staff volunteered more than 3,500 hours within the local communities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.