ESMMYC 2020 in Review, & Look Forward

By Elizabeth W. Duda, Chair

Dec. 31, 2020 (York County, SC) The year was not what anyone planned. But Eat Smart Move More York County (ESMMYC) did our best to support our community. As a coalition, ESMMYC communicated with our partners, members and the public. We responded to community needs to help address food insecurity, mental and physical health, and wellness.

With more people going hungry in this tough economy, we shared Efforts to Promote Access to Healthy Foods and Reduce Food Insecurity across York County (04/04/2020) and Free Meals for York County Kids through Summer Feeding Programs (06/11/2020). We spoke publicly about Fresh Food Access, Farms and Farmers Markets (minute 3:29), and Food Insecurity, Healthy Food Access, ESMMYC & Impact York County Collaboration on CN2 News  (04/23/2020); Access to Healthy Foods and Food Insecurity in York County on WRHI Radio (04/16/2020); and Food Access in Our Community with The Heart2Heart Foundation (04/13/2020).

Using our experience and connections, we helped the Impact York County coalition to “stand up” its new Healthy Food Access committee. Leveraging partnerships and Healthy People Healthy Carolinas grant funding, Impact York County hosted four free food-box giveaways and helped to fund Summer Feeding Programs serving York County youth. ESMMYC also contributed to the Rivendell Farm of the Carolinas interactive map with food resources in the Carolinas. We hosted FoodShare guest speakers (12/12/2020) to learn more as Impact York County pursues a FoodShare designation here in our county. And to support advocacy, education and collaboration, ESMMYC re-launched our Access to Healthy Food Committee spearheaded by Lynn Caldwell of Farmers Market Management Services.

Since physical activity is critical to physical and mental health, especially when we have to stay close to home, we brought awareness to the Status of County, City & Town Parks, Playgrounds & Recreational Facilities (04/02/2020). We hosted Municipal Parks & Rec Leaders at our October (virtual) meeting to learn about programming, participation and safety measures in the current environment, and plans. And to support mental health in these trying times, we shared Mindfulness & Meditation at Our April General Meeting, leveraging expertise of ESMMYC leadership team members, Sara Cain-da Costa and Dr. Janet Wojcik (04/19/2020).

As leaders in support of community health, we encouraged the community and mayors to Do Our Part: Wear a Mask & Socially Distance (06/30/2020). ESMMYC shared Covid resources from reputable York County, state and national organizations with our constituents. Leadership team members also took part in the City of Rock Hill’s comprehensive plan update, led by senior planner, Amy Jo Denton, who is on the ESMMYC leadership team.

To learn about their impact on our local communities, we welcomed the Historic Paradise Foundation nonprofit and Impact York County coalition as featured guest speakers. We exchanged ideas, made connections, and created awareness of their efforts – and even sent volunteers their way. ESMMYC wrote letters of support when they applied for grant funding.

Advocacy for safe ped/cycling access in Fort Mill and Rock Hill

The ESMMYC advocacy committee championed healthy eating, active living and community health. During this election year, we shared Questions to Gauge Candidate Support for Active Living & Healthy Eating Policies. We supported successful community efforts to bring safe ped/bike access between Baxter Village and Kingsley in Fort Mill with the I-77 interchange reconfiguration at Highway 160, in partnership with Bike/Ped Coalition (BPC) of York County. Similarly, we shared BPC advocacy comments in support of safe pedestrian access at the new Rock Hill I-77 interchange. We also commented on RFATS 2050 long-range transportation plan update, in partnership with the BPC advocacy committee. We continue to advocate for safe routes to schools, in partnership with the BPC, including a neighborhood trail between Habersham and Pleasant Knoll Elementary and Middle Schools in Fort Mill. We are working to be trailblazers to Gold Hill Middle School from Lake Ridge in Tega Cay, and seek support for paths to other York County schools.

Recognizing inequities across society, ESMMYC shared Race Equity Resources and the ESMMSC statement on racism, disparities and inequities. ESMMSC featured ESMMYC coalition chair Liz Duda: Perspectives I Have Developed of Racial Equity and Ways Forward. As ESMMYC leadership team members progress in our ESMMSC-sponsored “Promoting Equity among Communities Effectively” training and other personal development, we will further explore our health equity value to promote equitable access throughout York County. Leadership team members look forward to strategic planning in early 2021 where we can consider ESMMSC’s new strategic plan and our local needs and values.

The ESMMYC coalition effectively stuck with our core values of leadership; collaboration/partnership; sustainability; health equity and adaptability as we served our community in 2020. We would look forward to collaborating with you in 2021.

Leadership Team
Elizabeth (Liz) Duda
, MBA, Tega Cay Healthy Kids – Chair
Sara Cain-da Costa, Synergy Yoga Wellness  Advocacy Committee Chair
Lynn Caldwell, Farmers Market Management Services – Access to Healthy Food Committee Chair
Jennie Dawkins, Community Health Coordinator, Upper Palmetto YMCA
Amy Jo Denton, Senior Planner, Planning & Development, City of Rock Hill
Dan Fesperman, Senior Associate, Community Engagement & Corporate Responsibility, Atrium Health – Programming Committee Chair
David Keely, MD, Family Medicine and Public Health – 5-2-1-0 Committee Chair
Latisha Holt, Director of Food Service, York School District One
Samantha Kriegshauser, Adult Enrichment Centers 
Lindy Morris, Girls on the Run of the Tri-County
Candra Riley, Health Educator, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
Karen Van Vierssen, Clover Area Assistance Center – Secretary
Janet Wojcik, PhD, Associate Professor and Program Director, Exercise Science, Winthrop University

Technical Advisors
Erika Bell
, Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Jessica Cody
, Board, Clover School District
Susan Collier, MS, RD, LD
, Community Systems Team, Midlands Public Health Region, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
Karen Jones, Fort Mill Economic Partners; 2019 Ag + Art Tour of York County
Sadie Kirell, Clinical Lead Nurse, Rock Hill School District