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DURHAM COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH The Durham County Department of Public Health frequently hosted in-person exercise classes for its employees, but the new restrictions soon made that impossible. After shifting the classes to online, “we decided to cast a wider net and make it available for anybody who wanted to connect with us,” says Willa Robinson Allen, program manager at the department. Since April, Willa and fellow Zumba instructor Benita Perkins have prerecorded classes focused on stretching, cardio, Zumba, Pilates and more, which are uploaded to the county website. Willa misses the connection that comes with a face-toface session, but says, “It’s really nice that … some people are finding us for the first time.” She adds that they will probably stop recording new classes once the state enters Phase 3 of its reopening plan and gyms return, but she has enjoyed this unique opportunity. “Never before have so many residents been connected to technology, and since people have been in front of their devices, we still wanted to continue our messages about wellness and chronic disease prevention,” Willa says. “[Virtual exercise classes are] how we’ve been able to do it.” – By Claire Delano

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FARMERS TO FAMILIES The Nehemiah Christian Center recommended itself to the United States Department of Agriculture as the government agency looked for a Raleigh-Durham location for its Farmers to Families Food Box program. The initiative was launched in April and distributes unsold produce, dairy and meat products to families in need. “The opportunity to help over 3,000 families per week in the Triangle was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” says Dr. Herbert R. Davis, Nehemiah’s senior pastor. The church participated in the third round of Farmers to Families, which lasted from July 24 to August 28. Every Friday, a truck full of fresh food arrived at Nehemiah, where volunteers distributed the products to the eight other partner churches. The remaining food was given directly to members of the community. “Being able to receive free food that is of top quality is helping some homes make it between paychecks or in light of missed meals,” Herbert says. He hopes that the USDA continues its efforts so that the impact can spread further. “We are seeing thousands of people being blessed with quality produce,” he says. “To see the joy in people’s eyes and to hear the gratefulness in their voices is … so rewarding.”

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Durham Magazine Sept 2020  

The Food and Drink Issue

Durham Magazine Sept 2020  

The Food and Drink Issue

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