DIXIE INN – As part of the Healthy Communities Initiative, the Village of Dixie Inn will soon be offering food boxes for eligible citizens.

Mayor Kay Stratton said she hopes to have the mobile food pantry from the North Louisiana Food Bank in Shreveport set to come to Dixie Inn by April, no later than May.

“They are willing to start doing a food drop here,” she said. “We can set it up like they do in Cotton Valley, Heflin and in Minden. They are looking for small communities where they can bring their mobile pantry in. Since we have access to help to unload the truck and bring it inside, we would box it up and people in the community will fill out an application and pick up a food box.”

Those eligible for food boxes will be low income, elderly or handicapped citizens, she said.

“It’s one of those programs that our people in the community could possibly use,” she said. “This might put healthier foods into their homes.”

Based on figures she saw, Stratton said the median income of Dixie Inn is in the neighborhood of $35,000 to $40,000.

The LSU Agcenter Healthy Community Initiative is an “initiative is a systemic community-driven approach to increase health of Louisianans. By partnering with local communities, Healthy Communities aims to continuously improve both the physical and social environments that influence our health.”

Joan Almond, LSU Agcenter Extension agent for northwest Louisiana, said the LSU Agcenter’s main mission for nutrition is to fight childhood and adult obesity. Louisiana ranks seventh in the nation in childhood obesity and No. 1 in adult obesity.

“We know the issue of obesity is the health problems that come with it,” she said. “Not the fact that we think everybody ought to be a certain height or weight, it’s the problems that obesity causes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis – all of those health issues are related. They all go back to being healthy, getting enough exercise and eating right.”

Several community members gathered for a forum Thursday afternoon to discuss different ways to motivate Dixie Inn citizens to be healthier. They talked about walking and biking trails, the two parks and the baseball field, all of which are utilized, but not enough. They narrowed the top three things they’d like to see done: park signage advertising the parks inside the village, community events and updating the ballpark.

The ideas that came with updating the ballpark included constructing restroom facilities, updating and repairing the lighting at the ball field, and replacing and repairing the fence. These things need to be done before they can hold a community event, Brenda McDaniel said.

Stratton said she wants the community to know that they are there to serve them, and one of those ways to try to bring people together in ways that promote physical activity and eating better.

“We’re just trying to come up with ways to make our community healthier,” she said.