Through the years, we’ve worked with exceptional individuals who understand local challenges facing their communities, and have the passion and the vision to create opportunities where people can make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, play and pray. We’re recognizing these individuals, who have been nominated by their peers and colleagues, to showcase their commitment to making the healthy choice, the easy choice.
Growing up with her grandparents’ garden of fresh fruit and vegetables, Laura Long appreciates how important access to fresh produce is for individuals and families. It is with this appreciation that Laura has been working with local farmer’s markets to offer healthy food options for everyone. Alongside SCDHEC, she has worked to connect farmers who accept SNAP, EBT, WIC, and senior vouchers with the citizens who use them. For the past two years, she has been helping with the SC Farmer’s and Roadside Market App that allows users to see where local farmer’s markets are located and which ones accept different vouchers.
“Laura Long is a committed, and respected community leader responsible for many health and wellness initiatives in Anderson County,” says Mary Kayrouz of the United Way of Anderson County. “Her positivity and professional skill set has fostered impressive collaborations and sustaining partnerships working to improve the wellbeing of this community.”
One of Long’s passions is the WIC Program and helping low-income mothers provide healthy foods for their families and to understand the benefits. She was instrumental in setting up mini farmer’s markets at the Health Department so WIC participants could not only redeem their vouchers for fresh produce, but could learn about the benefits of local grown vegetables and how to cook them.
“I would love for everyone, especially WIC participants, to make that connection,” says Long, “and to help them make the healthy choice easy so they can make informed decisions on feeding their families while meeting their needs and their kids’ needs.”
Long also plays a role in improving healthy school environments and educating pediatricians on obesity prevention. She collaborated with AnMed Health on an education event for pediatricians, focusing on the use of obesity prevention tool kits in the clinic setting as an effort to improve pediatric health outcomes.
Kayrouz says, “Throughout Laura’s career she has positioned herself to help reduce the impact of chronic conditions, injuries, infections, and maternal and child health problems. With a smile, kind words, and great enthusiasm Laura Long is leading our community to a higher level of wellbeing.”