The Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative has partnered with Tom Gores’ FlintNOW and the National Basketball Players Association, or NBPA, for the second year to provide Flint families access to healthier food through gift certificates totaling $300,000.
The NBPA Foundation and Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons and a Flint native who created FlintNOW, a private sector initiative to support a broad range of short and long-term relief efforts, are funding the effort. Last year, the two groups partnered with the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, or PPHI, and distributed $240,000 worth of Farmers’ Market certificates.
PPHI was created to address the Flint community’s population-wide lead exposure and help all Flint children grow up healthy and strong. Mona Hanna-Attisha, associate professor of pediatrics at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and director of the pediatric residency at Hurley Children's Hospital, leads the initiative.
"Kids need healthy food to grow up smart and strong. More access to nutritious foods will not only help our children today, but it will make them healthy for many years to come," Hanna- Attisha said. "Flint kids are already strong, smart and healthy. We are so grateful for this partnership, which will make sure our Flint kids continue to have a bright future.”
Starting this week, 10,000 booklets will be distributed to Flint preschool and elementary school children, including charter schools, Head Start and other preschool programs that serve primarily Flint families. Each booklet contains six $5 gift certificates for the Flint Farmers’ Market and an entry form for an opportunity to win tickets to a Pistons game next season at the new Little Caesars Arena, including a meet-and-greet with a Pistons player. A short survey, developed by PPHI, will also be included to help evaluate the program and ensure the needs of Flint families are met.
Gores praised the NBPA Foundation and NBA players from around the country for their sustained commitment to Flint and its children.
“Kids and their families in Flint still need support and one of the best ways we can help is to make sure they have healthy food to eat,” Gores said. “The Pistons organization and players throughout the NBA have continued to step up. This is another example of how we can make a difference by working together.”
“We are so pleased to work with FlintNOW and PPHI again this year. Our players remain committed to the health of the children and families of Flint,” said Sherrie Deans, executive director of the NBPA Foundation. “This continuing partnership advances our shared goal of providing long term access to healthier food options, and a healthier future.”
The Detroit Pistons organization will also help distribute the packs and encourage children and families to redeem the Farmers’ Market gift certificates. Pistons legends, as well as the team mascot Hooper and members of the Pistons entertainment teams, are expected to help support the program throughout the summer.