Home Familie Eine gesunde Lynnfield-Mahlzeit ist wichtig – Das Family Dinner Project

Eine gesunde Lynnfield-Mahlzeit ist wichtig – Das Family Dinner Project

von NFI Redaktion

A beautifully set table for Pasta Palooza fun! (Photo courtesy of A Healthy Lynnfield)

While The Family Dinner Project maintains numerous partnerships with individual institutions like community centers, parent groups, and food banks across the country, there are some communities where we collaborate with champions who are further enhancing the commitment to family meals. Lynnfield, MA is an example of a community that recently took on the challenge of coordinating a fully integrated campaign aimed at improving family meal statistics across the town. Led by A Healthy Lynnfield, the „Make Meal Time Matter“ campaign worked with multiple community partners including schools, media, faith communities, and providers of after-school activities to spread The Family Dinner Project’s message throughout the entire city.

A Healthy Lynnfield provided translated conversation starters and materials for their „Multilingual Families“ event (Photo courtesy of A Healthy Lynnfield).

The Project

Project coordinator Peg Sallade shares that „A Healthy Lynnfield“ was convened in 2017 as a substance abuse prevention committee in response to the opioid crisis in Massachusetts. Since then, the group has expanded their work, supporting social-emotional, mental health, and wellness initiatives and substance prevention efforts through a partnership between the town, its residents, and many supportive organizations.

„We were aware of research showing that having three or more meals per week together as a family helps protect children from risks associated with substance abuse and brings about a host of other positive benefits. As eating, sharing recipes, and talking about food are appealing to all age groups, races, ethnicities, and cultures, we opted for a social marketing campaign to increase the number of Lynnfield families who report eating dinner with their families three or more times a week to enhance conversations and connections between youths and trusted adults,“ says Peg.

Building on the strategy of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to change social norms within a community, A Healthy Lynnfield worked with its parent council to design a six-week social marketing campaign called „Make Meal Time Matter.“ The campaign kicked off with training for community partners by The Family Dinner Project and continued with several social media efforts, online blogs, paid advertising in local newspapers, informative mailings to residents, a community calendar featuring tips and recipes for family meals, school and community newsletter posts, and three meal events with conversation starter kits for Lynnfield residents.

The community dinner events were planned and executed with local partners, including a PTO Pasta Palooza night for elementary schools, a family night for multilingual families, and events sponsored by scouts and local churches.

Families enjoying Pasta Palooza (Photo courtesy of A Healthy Lynnfield)

Insights and Next Steps

Peg mentions that the best ideas for a community-wide campaign like Make Meal Time Matter often come from community members themselves. She cites the Pasta Palooza event as a clear example of community engagement; local fourth-graders were trained to host the program and initiate conversations while serving the noodle dish to their parents, resulting in excellent outcomes. „Pasta Palooza was a HUGE success, and we were so grateful for this collaboration this year. The take-home conversation starters were a big hit!“ shared a PTO member from the school community.

While A Healthy Lynnfield continues to collect feedback and data on the entire campaign, it’s evident that the community has benefited from targeted messaging and resources to assist with meaningful family meals. Over 40% of survey respondents have indicated using the conversation starters and tip sheets provided as part of the campaign, and 44% stated that they have made changes to their family meals at home due to the project. Others may not have made substantial changes but have been reinvigorated in their existing commitment to meal times. „For us at home, family dinner has always been a priority, and this campaign has helped solidify that commitment even further,“ said one respondent.

When asked to summarize their key takeaways from the campaign’s message, most families mentioned learning more about the benefits of regular shared meals. Some elaborated further on this message, such as one family who responded: „By speaking early and often with your children, you keep communication channels open as they grow up, encouraging them to talk to you throughout their day.“

Based on community feedback, A Healthy Lynnfield plans to modify and/or expand various elements of the program for the next year. Due to the positive reception of this aspect of the campaign, they are already considering continuing with conversation starter kits.

„The best part is knowing that we are reaching people in a way that influences positive health behaviors and crucial connections between children and other adults in the community,“ says Peg Sallade. The Family Dinner Project is grateful for her leadership and the wonderful collaboration with everyone in Lynnfield who made this community-wide initiative possible.

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