By Teresa Spires, Executive Director, KNOW(2)
With spring in the air, KNOW(2) is working to encourage Cherokee County residents to make healthier choices, be more active, and eat better. On April 2nd, we will host our first annual Cherokee Rock & Ride event at the Lake Whelchel Trail, 358 Pleasant School Road in Gaffney. The day starts with a series of mountain trail bike races around Lake Whelchel on the relatively new trail. Both professional and hobby riders are welcome to sign up and participate. Registration and information is available at www.racedeptinc.com.
The event will also include a community festival with music, children’s activities, a community resource and health fair, and a beer garden. Nonprofits and businesses interested in participating in the resource fair can contact KNOW(2) to register. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. The Cherokee Rock & Ride is sponsored by the Gaffney Board of Public Works, Brown Packing Company, Blakely Funeral Home & Crematory, Piedmont Natural Gas and the Cherokee Medical Center. The bike race starts at 9 am and the community festival kicks off at 11 am. The professional riders will start at 11:30. All activities are expected to end at 4 pm.
KNOW(2) will also celebrate the one-year anniversary of our FoodShare Cherokee hub during the Rock & Ride. FoodShare Cherokee provides a fresh food box of healthy fruits and vegetables to anyone in the community every two weeks for only $15. SNAP recipients pay only 5 SNAP dollars for their box. Since the program is about improving eating habits in the community, it is open to everyone. Each box contains 9-12 different produce items and weighs between 15-25 pounds. Food comes from the state Farmer’s Market and from local farmers (in season), so it is very fresh. Residents wishing to order a box can contact FoodShare Cherokee through our Facebook page or by emailing FoodSharecherokee@gmail.com.
FoodShare Cherokee partners with the Cherokee County School District to provide the program. Boxes are packed by students at the Ola Copeland Community Learning Center when school is in session. During the summer and holidays volunteer adults and families are invited to come and see how the program works by participating in packing boxes. Students at the Learning Center get practical lessons in math, science, following directions, teamwork, and safe food handling. FoodShare Cherokee’s motto is feeding a need in our community.
Wholespire Cherokee, the public health task force of KNOW(2), worked with the South Carolina Office of Rural Health in 2020 and 2021 to study the public health data in the county and discuss ways to encourage people to make healthier choices. Of particular concern is the county’s high obesity rate, which is almost ten percent higher than the state average. Access to grocery stores with healthy options was also of concern as many of our county’s lower income residents lack access to reliable transportation and no public transportation exists in the county. FoodShare Cherokee is the first step that this group is taking to work on the issues. The Wholespire Cherokee task force represents a broad group of stakeholders in the public health and education communities. They meet monthly to share information and continue to work on improving public health in our community.
At the Cherokee Rock & Ride, KNOW(2) will have sample fresh food boxes available and will be raffling several off during the day. We also plan to have cooking demonstrations and other public health activities. To date, FoodShare Cherokee has provided almost 1,800 fresh food boxes, which is over 31,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables into the community.
KNOW(2) is a unique organization focused on making Cherokee County a better place to live, work, learn, and play. We are a connector, facilitator, supporter and advocate for many initiatives in the county. KNOW(2) focuses primarily on education, public health, economic development/entrepreneurship development, and families and youth at-risk. We have a large volunteer base and incorporate 100s of stakeholders into our work each year. Since our work is narrowly focused geographically, but broadly focused functionally, it is often difficult to explain; however, most people know that if something is happening in Cherokee County, KNOW(2) is likely involved in the actual work or in the background supporting the effort.