Wednesday, June 6, 2018

In North County, the Fit and Food Connection Moves Into Its First Real Home

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2018 at 6:11 AM

click to enlarge The Fit and Food Connection co-directors Joy Millner (left) and Gabi Cole began partnering with Believers Temple in early 2018. They moved FAFC into the church in May. - RICK MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Rick Miller Photography
  • The Fit and Food Connection co-directors Joy Millner (left) and Gabi Cole began partnering with Believers Temple in early 2018. They moved FAFC into the church in May.

After five years without a physical location to call its own, the Fit and Food Connection now has its first home. The healthy resources nonprofit, known as FAFC, has partnered with north county's Believers Temple (2115 Chambers Road) and is now hosting its programs in the church building.

FAFC provides group fitness classes, nutrition seminars, food assistance programs, an emergency food hotline and a one-on-one fitness and nutrition program. The nonprofit also has an organic food garden at 4846 St. Louis Avenue.

All of the programs are all free and aim to support low-income families in St. Louis, says FAFC co-director Joy Millner.



“Our total passion is going out and helping people feel empowered and healthy who cannot do it on their own,” Millner says.

On June 4, Millner, who boasts 35 years of experience as a nutrition and fitness professional, hosted her first group fitness class in the Temple’s recreational center. FAFC moved into the space, which is just west of Halls Ferry Road, in May.

click to enlarge Joy Millner (left) and Gabi Cole joined forces in 2013 to start The Fit and Food Connection. - RICK MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Rick Miller Photography
  • Joy Millner (left) and Gabi Cole joined forces in 2013 to start The Fit and Food Connection.

Prior to its partnership with Believers Temple, FAFC was operating out of different locations in the area. In addition to a single address gathering its programs under one roof, FAFC now has a stainless-steel industrial kitchen for its one-on-one program.

The program, which targets FAFC's neediest participants, offers;training sessions, nutrition guidance and three grocery store education sessions in which FAFC will fund $100 worth of groceries each visit and three food preparation programs.

Much of the food from the food assistance program, run by FAFC co-director Gabi Cole, comes from the organization's partnership with Fit Flavors, St. Louis Area Foodbank, local farmers and companies doing healthy food drives in the area.

click to enlarge Millner says getting donations can be difficult because the healthy resources nonprofit exclusively offers healthy foods. - CAMILLE RESPESS
  • Camille Respess
  • Millner says getting donations can be difficult because the healthy resources nonprofit exclusively offers healthy foods.

FAFC hopes its new office space will allow staff to meet with more potential donors and partners as well.

“There is a big need for what we do,” Millner says. “Now we have a home and an audience that we are going to work very hard for and very closely with. There are low-income neighborhoods all over St. Louis who need our services beyond north St. Louis.”

On June 10, FAFC will host a kickoff celebration at 12:30 p.m. at Believers Temple. Staffers will provide healthy snacks, nutrition education and an introduction to their programs.

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