Grow Carter County continues push, offering ‘tobacco take back’

Published 8:58 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Several community groups and organizations are upping the ante when it comes to promoting a healthier lifestyle in Carter County.
Members of the health movement, Grow Carter County, joined with the TNSTRONG/Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition Board to start their “Tobacco Take Back” initiative.
In conjunction with Food City, Grow Carter County is going to appear regularly at different community events, like Tuesday’s Downtown Elizabethton Farmers Market, and give residents the opportunity to bring any tobacco product worth $5 in value and trade it in for a $10 gift certificate to Food City and a healthy snack.
Josh McKinney, Grow Carter County Chair, said there’s $1,000 available and that the goal of the initiative is to encourage residents to turn away from health hazards and use the certificate to purchase healthier items.
“This is our kickoff event,” McKinney said. “We’re hoping to bring this to different community events and partner with other groups to provide resources to residents.”
Comprised of different sectors within Carter County and the City of Elizabethton, Grow Carter County was recently awarded a $5,000 grant by the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness to become a Tennessee Healthier Community.
Along with the Tobacco Take Back, the organization is also working on four other projects.
A story trail, starting at the library and ending at the Tweetsie Trail to encourage families to read stories as they walk through the city.
Grow Carter County Rocks & #HealthySelfie social media blitz, using painted rocks which can be discovered on different walking trails in the county.
Providing a staff member to community gardens and Build It Up gardens in the county to help with tilling and maintenance
Covering the cost to install a water bottle station at Little Milligan Elementary and using additional funds to “match and leverage” additional community sponsorships to get stations at the remaining 10 county schools.
Tuesday also gave Youth Board members a chance to promote #takeitaway. Reece Townsend, board member, stated the goal of the program is to encourage their peers to have their parents, guardians and loved one to rid themselves of unneeded substances, like tobacco products.
Following in the steps of Grow Carter County representatives, the board is also working to gather 10,000 signatures for a petition to have a law in place to make it illegal to smoke in a car with anyone under the age of 18 years old. Citizens wanting to sign the petition can stop by Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition downtown to sign or visit their Facebook page for more information.
McKinney, who also serves on the farmers market board, added the event will be held downtown on Saturday, Oct. 31, for its last day of the season. McKinney added the first year has been a success and that the board will regroup in the coming months to help bolster the market for 2018. Activity on Tuesday gets underway from 5 to 8 p.m. and will be held in conjunction with downtown’s trick-or-treat event.
For more information about all the different events on the horizon by Grow Carter County, visit their social media accounts online.

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