Grandparents can be a special part of any family. The connection they can provide in a family — whether it’s as primary caregivers or an integral role in the family dynamic — can have a major impact on the children they raise.
As with many communities, the last few years may have presented new challenges for grandparents with issues like food insecurity, social isolation and the health and well-being of those at high-risk of complication. While many families continue to struggle putting food on the table, community events and helpful resources may provide the critical help that’s needed.
Several Grandparents Day events were held in the month of September through a long-standing collaboration between Sesame Workshop and UnitedHealthcare. The events, which took place in Houston (Texas), Charlotte (North Carolina), Commerce City (Colorado), New Orleans (Louisiana), Honolulu (Hawaii), and Petersburg (Virginia), focused on addressing food insecurity. About 10% of U.S. households were food-insecure at some point during 2021.
The latest resource, Happy, Healthy, Hopeful: Stretching Our Food Dollars, is a new resource in Sesame Workshop’s “Growing Every Day, Every Way” program, which is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare. The free guide helps provide support to families who are coping with limited access to affordable, nutritious food.
The resource includes strategies for planning and making easy, healthy, budget-friendly meals and helping children develop healthy relationships with food. It was developed building on independent research by Sesame Workshop indicating that Sesame’s resources are successful in helping families increase their knowledge, beliefs and behaviors around nutrition.
The research found that within four weeks of incorporating Sesame’s educational resources into their routine, nearly 3 in 4 families reported making positive nutritional changes including seeking information on how to cope with food insecurity, taking steps to save money on food and making changes to promote healthy eating in the family.
“With a mission to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder, Sesame Workshop is committed to improving the health of the whole family across generations and providing resources to support healthy habits,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop.
In Houston, the family-friendly event included drive-through food distribution provided by Bethel’s Heavenly Hands, special appearances by Walkaround Elmo, music and more. Attended by 1,800 people, it also offered no-cost COVID-19 and monkeypox vaccinations, as well as educational sessions on Medicaid.
“The Grandparents Day event and the continued collaboration with Sesame Workshop provides a holistic way to reach families with resources about food insecurity and honor grandparents,” said Don Langer, CEO of the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas.
To access the resources online, visit: Grandparents Guide (English) (pdf)