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ShapingNJ Hosts Faith-Based Conference

On April 27, 2012, ShapingNJ and the NJ Office of Minority and Multicultural Health hosted the first ShapingNJ Faith-Based conference, "Healthy Living for All: Bringing Healthy Eating and Active Living to Your Faith-Based Community". Held at the Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton Center for Health and Wellness in Mercerville, NJ, the conference attracted more than 100 individuals, representing nearly 30 congregations from around New Jersey.


The day included:

  • Reflections and information about the need for preventing obesity in New Jersey and the role of the faith-based community.


  • Descriptions of promising faith-based practices such as
    • The South Ward Agricultural Garden (SWAGarden) in Newark by Rabbi Curis G. Caldwell of First Tabernacle
    • Move It to Lose It by Dr. Naveen Mehrotra of the Shri Krishna Nidhi Foundation
    • Healthy and Fit 40 Day Challenge by Pastor Natalie Mitchem from the First Episcopal District AME Church
    • Creating a breastfeeding support room in a local mosque by Hafeezah Abdur-rahim
    • Various Sikh traditions that support physical and mental health by Gurparkash Singh, Inderjit Singh Chhatwal, Sumandeep Kaur Chhatwal, and Jasminder Kaur from the Garden State Sikh Association and the United Sikhs.
    • Healthy Cornerstore Initiative by Frances Blanco of Living Hope Church and Living Hope Empowerment Center

  • Information about community engagement, advocacy and communication strategies targeted toward faith-based communities.


  • A Resource panel of experts who provided information about tools, programs and other resources to bring healthy and active living to faith-based communities.