Hammonton Health Coalition
In 2016 Allies in Caring (AIC) co-initiated the Hammonton Health Coalition (HHC). The Coalition is an initiative led by 13 cross-sector organizations in South Jersey. Its mission is to help residents improve their mental and physical health by implementing creative programs that recognize and take advantage of Hammonton’s unique social, economic, and natural resources.
The Coalition decided to focus first on identifying, developing, promoting, and engaging existing community assets to promote health by making Hammonton an inclusive community that serves all residents’ needs and draws on all residents’ talents.
Coalition members create a civic environment to more effectively carry out projects to address our higher rates of opioid use, obesity, and food insecurity than the statewide average.
These challenges are particularly acute among our town’s growing Latino community members who face high poverty levels, discrimination, and exclusion. In 2018 we were selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantee to support this effort.
11 Cross-Sector Stakeholders
During 2019 we recruited and mentored ten community connectors. These are bi-lingual, bi-cultural Latinx community members representing different genders, ethnicities, races, ages, documented status, education, and socio-economic levels.
The connectors have learned about the Culture of Health framework and Social Determinants of Health. They have investigated the institutions and organizations in our community and the services and opportunities they offer.
They have spread this information among their networks, and they have engaged their networks to develop and participate in new projects.
The Connectors work in 2022
One of the main accomplishments of this program has been promoting town-wide events in Spanish. Connectors are the heart of the Hammonton Health Coalition as they are the bridge to connect the underrepresented communities, share their stories, and close the gap.
Various projects have emerged as an outcome of the Connectors Program; a Latino Leadership Scholarship which provides seed money to individuals embarking on their educational career since most are first-generation college students; Hispanic Heritage Month which allows us to promote and build consciousness on culture, history, and traditions; a resource fair which brings together organizations and agencies providing services and resources to the community; a women’s group which creates a safe space for women to talk about some of the issues affecting them but also learn from each other; and lastly, a youth podcast that will create a platform for youth to engage and talk about topics of their interest, while developing and enhancing their communication skills
To learn more about the connectors work, please visit their Facebook Page.