Late last year, the West Calumet neighborhood was found to have high levels of lead in the soil. The Purdue Nutrition Education Program was asked to step in and provide education, guidance, and support to the residents of the area.
because lead absorption can be slowed down by certain nutrients like vitamin C, iron, and calcium, Community Wellness Coordinator Michael Downey collaborated with three local food pantries within walking distance of the affected area. The Northwest Indiana Food bank also participated. The “objective” was to increase the availability and volume of foods containing vitamin C, iron, and calcium to the pantries serving the affected area. Hundreds of fliers were distributed to help residents understand how consuming these foods would help mitigate the absorption of lead in the body.
Several partners helped in this effort – The Salvation Army, Meek Baptist Church, Fish and Loaves, Catholic Charities Family Services, and NWI Food Bank.
PNEP Community Wellness Coordinator and Nutrition Education Program Advisors were on hand to help educate residents, and hundreds of people got access to foods that would help decrease lead-absorption.