As the impact of the coronavirus spreads across the commonwealth, Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia 4-H are working to support families as a community partner by providing resources that will help families, individuals, and businesses mitigate the many challenges that will arise in the coming weeks.
“It’s times like these that we need to step up and be there for each other,” said Ed Jones, extension director. “We are in unprecedented times and we want people to know that as community members, VCE and Virginia 4-H are here for you.”
One such way that VCE and Virginia 4-H are helping the community is through access to educational materials for all grades.
National 4-H Council offers two activity kits: a guide with a 30-lesson Healthy Living Activity Guide and a 4-H Inspire Kids to Do Activity Guide that keeps children stimulated and happy during school closures. 4-H also offers STEM Lab resources that instill curiosity and critical thinking using resources commonly found at home.
“Our goal is to achieve whole child development of the head, heart, hands, and health,” said Jeremy Johnson, the state 4-H leader. “We ‘Inspire Kids to Do’ – and we can continue to do that now. Our online resources cultivate an environment that allows curiosity and imagination to spark and ignite a lifelong passion for learning. The 4-H at-home projects and exercises serve as a way to develop valuable life-long skills at home.”
To further inhibit the spread of COVID-19, VCE offers a plethora of resources for healthy living, including resources for the proper handwashing technique, proper cleaning and disinfection, and what to do if feeling unwell.
Proper nutrition is paramount to health and to durable immune systems. The Virginia Family Nutrition Program offers a variety of materials for nutritional cooking at home, including cooking basics. To keep up a strong immune system, eating an adequate amount of vegetables and fruits with meals is vital.
It is also important to be able to craft meals from easy-to-access resources, and the Virginia Family Nutrition Program offers shelf-stable meal ideas to improve the pantry.
Another critical component for healthy living is exercise, which can be continued with an at-home routine. Eat Smart, Move More Virginia, part of the Virginia Family Nutrition Program, has provided at-home exercise videos and exercises to try at home. Regardless of which exercises are chosen, it is important to stay within physical limits and be both careful and cautious when exercising.
VCE also offers resources covering common grocery store questions and answers, retail packaging, best practices for food banks, and resources for U-pick farms.
“It is times such as this that members of the community step up, and we are proud that VCE has the capability to deploy resources to serve our community,” Jones said.
—Written by Max Esterhuizen