With childhood obesity and chronic illness making the news on a seemingly nightly basis, local families, businesses, and the West Roxbury YMCA came together on Saturday morning to promote wellness and healthy living as part of the Y's national event, Healthy Kids Day.
"We're offering a free event for parents to come down and get excited to be healthy and learn to be healthy," said West Roxbury YMCA Program Director Tyler Simpson at the event's onset. "We got in touch with as many local businesses as we could to help us promote healthy living."
The event featured tables for businesses and organizations to hand out informational pamphlets and healthy living accessories. Faulkner Hospital, for instance, had a table staffed by dietrician Brooke Staat, who put out printed images of different beverages (Vitamin Water, Coca Cola, chocolate milk) and, with each image, the number of sugar packets included in each drink.
"It's really great to see people become more aware of what they're consuming," Staat said.
Upstairs in the gym, which was open for families to use (complete with a moon bounce obstacle course), Walgreens employees were handing out bags that included bottled water, hand sanitizer, tissues, and a first-aid kit.
"We just want to show the community that we do care about people's wellness and the way they live in the community," said Walgreens' Boston Community Leader Steve Bacon.
The Jewish Guild for the Blind, which works with the YMCA's afterschool programs to provide diabetes prevention education, handed out pamphlets to further support that mission. Joan Hill, the dietician who leads this Guild initiative, was happy to have the opportunity to distribute information.
"It's always great to find more ways to get our message out," she said.
"We just want to help generate more ways for kids to be outside," said Wicked Sharp owner and West Roxbury resident Aaron Thompson, whose shop has just started its spring and summer golf season.
West Roxbury families seemed happy with the event, and in particular, were pleased to see the support for their kids' health from throughout the community.
"It makes me feel great to see [local businesses] participating today," said Jimmy Augusta, the father of daughters Stephanie, Rosemary, and Sophia. "We're doing our part and they're doing theirs."