Block party encourages healthy living

LIMA — Residents celebrated Lima’s South Jackson Community Garden on Saturday between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the Activate Allen County’s Summer Block Party.

Attendees explored the community garden and vendor tent where they accessed free health screenings and received a distribution from the West Ohio Food Bank. The event also included free food and music entertainment.

Kayla Monfort is co-director of Activate Allen County at the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. She is a trained public health specialist who earned her Bachelor of Applied Science in dietetics from Eastern Michigan University in 2004. Monfort then served as a clinical dietitian in the Lima Memorial Health System for nearly six years and then spent nearly four years as the Lima Family YMCA’s public health dietitian. In 2017, she began her current role focusing on creating a plan to improve access to affordable, healthy foods, as well as providing nutritional counseling and education in Lima.

“Activate Allen County has been a community health collaborative since 2012 and we have been locally funded since 2017, so we have lots of community partners,” said Monfort.

“The goal of the block party is to bring together resources in the community and to go to where people are living, including hospitals, different insurance agencies, West Ohio Food Bank, free food, ArtSpace/Lima, and some great activities for the kids.”

“Healthy fruits and vegetables are needed in our diet,” she said. “With food prices going up, it’s really great to have access to fresh, affordable produce. Sometimes that means gardening and growing your own. Folks here learn gardening skills and then are able to see the reward.”

Renters are often prohibited from growing their own gardens by disturbing the lawn. They can try container gardening, but, some kits kill the grass underneath and others can be expensive.

The space at South Jackson Community Garden provides residents with 4×6 plots to grow produce for themselves, including tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and kale. Sunflowers provide both seeds and beautify the space.

To help reduce everyday expenses that can create barriers to healthy food and access to preventative medicine screenings and needed medical care for physical and mental well-being, a representative from Mercy Health was on hand to offer a screening that could be used to help guide individuals in need to resources.

For those interested in becoming first-time homeowners, representatives from West Ohio Community Action Partnership were on-hand to answer questions about fair housing to and promote their program that offers $6,000 to eligible participants to buy a home in the city of Lima. To learn more, visit For existing homeowners, the one-time Utility Assistance Plus program can help get their balance owed back to zero.

Josephine Williams and Melinda King, volunteers for ArtSpace/Lima, set up a jewelry-making table.

Bettina Appleberry, a patient educator from Care Access, was at this event looking for additional volunteers to help with an FDA Stage III clinical trial for a diagnostic technique and a medication that could be used to treat Alzheimer’s.

To get started, she said, individuals take an online screening test at Those who pass are offered a stipend to participate in the study. The study determines if this blood test can predict and/or indicate the very early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

To stay up-to-date about Activate Allen County’s activities, like their Facebook page by visiting

Tanner Heffley and his sister, Isabella, stroll through the community garden on Jackson Streen, Downtown LIma, during Activate Allen County’s Block Party on Saturday.

Chris Henderson (front left), Marcus Williams (front right), and Chris’ brother Jason Henderson (rear), of Stedic Music from Lima, perform on Saturday for Activate Allen County’s Block Party which was held on Jackson Street close to Downtown. This group is unique in that they provide various instruments for those at their shows to play along with during their performances.

Activate Allen County hosts ‘Summer Block Party’

Reach Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.