Feeding your Active Faith, Congregational Health Ministry Basics

 Becky Tuttle and Shelley Rich

Presentation slides: Feeding Your Active Faith [pdf]

Learn how faith-based organizations can effectively work with community-based organizations to promote health where individuals live, learn, earn, play and pray. This interactive workshop includes steps a faith-based community can take to promote physical activity and healthy eating, including resources ready to be implemented.

Becky Pattison Tuttle has over twenty years of professional experience engaging community partners through grassroots local coalition efforts focusing on tobacco, physical activity, healthy eating, oral health, fetal infant mortality and worksite wellness. The majority of the experience has focused on policy and environmental changes to improve the health of the community.

As of June 2017, Tuttle is serving as the Community Development Branch Director for the Greater Wichita YMCA, as well as facilitating the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita. The Community Development Branch Director provides leadership and management for outreach programs and services including volunteer development, partnership development, fiscal management, financial development, as well as the program and membership experience.  The Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita was established in 2004 and engages community members in healthy eating and increasing physical activity through program and policy implementation.  Prior, Tuttle served as the Project Manager for Health ICT, an affiliate of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County.  Health ICT is a four year initiative focusing on the prevention of diabetes, obesity, heart attack and stroke.  Tuttle previously served as a Director of Wellness Initiatives for the Greater Wichita YMCA and was responsible for the coordination of numerous programs focusing on chronic disease prevention and management, including diabetes, cancer, youth obesity, arthritis, and worksite wellness.  Tuttle also served at the Sedgwick County Health Department as the Community Health Planning and Performance Improvement Division Director, where she was responsible for public health department accreditation, quality improvement, community health assessment and improvement planning, workforce development, and strategic planning/performance management.  Prior to serving as a Division Director, Tuttle served as the SCHD Health Promotion Coordinator for almost six years, with highlights including the first local health department selected for the NACDD STAR Site Visit process, 2 national “I’m Your Community Guide” awards from the Public Health Foundation and a NACCHO Model Practice designation for the Health Department’s “Business Case for Breastfeeding” initiative.

Ms. Tuttle currently serves on the Kansas Public Health Association Board of Directors as President-Elect and as the Awards Committee Chairperson, Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition President, Health Alliance Chair, Health & Wellness Coalition Leadership Chair, Tobacco Free Wichita Coalition member, WorkWell Kansas Advisory Board, and has served on numerous local, state and national conference planning committees. Ms. Tuttle is has also been appointed by the City of Wichita Mayor to serve on City of Wichita District II Advisory Board, City of Wichita Park Foundation Board and City of Wichita Sister City Board.  In addition, Ms. Tuttle has served as the Wichita Aero Club Gala Co-Chair for five years, raising funds for scholarships awarded to students interested in a career in aerospace.  Ms. Tuttle is a Kansas Public Health Leadership Institute Scholar, Advance Kansas graduate, Dental Champion, Kansas Leadership Center Champion, Leadership Wichita participant, and Leadership Kansas nominee.  Ms. Tuttle has led a grassroots initiative to educate the community on the importance role that health and public health plays in the community’s vitality, including the development and implementation of a Public Health Sister City Site Visit.  Ms. Tuttle is also intricately involved in promoting civic engagement and implemented a “Vote Like a Mother” campaign in the fall of 2016 to encourage young mothers to vote in the upcoming elections.

Her career highlights include numerous local, regional, state, and national awards, including serving as the Coordinator for Tobacco Free Youth Initiative in Indianapolis, Indiana, which received the 2001 American Public Health Association-GlaxoSmithKline Partnership for Healthy Children Award. She is the recipient of the 2012 Kansas Public Health Association Virginia Lockhart Health Education Award and a 2016 Wichita Business Journal Women in Business honoree.  In 2016, Tuttle was a finalist for the Health Equity Award offered by the National Recreation and Park Association and was nominated by the City of Wichita Park and Recreation Department.

Ms. Tuttle has a Master of Arts from Appalachian State University in Student Development Administration and a Bachelor of Science from the University of South Dakota in Psychology and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies.

Shelley Rich is serving as the Director of Health Equity for the Health & Wellness Coalition which is supported by the Greater Wichita YMCA. The Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita was established in 2004 and engages community members in healthy eating and increasing physical activity through program and policy implementation.

As Director of Health Equity, Shelley is responsible for effectively implementing strategies required to meet funding expectations and reporting requirements for the Kansas Health Foundation Healthy Communities Initiative: Improving Health Equity in Kansas.  Health equity is the attainment of the highest level of health for all people.  Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone’s equity with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequities, historical and contemporary injustices and the elimination of health and health care disparities.  Grant activities focus on engaging the community to identify what health issues they determine to be the most prevalent and to identify partners who could best address the issues.

Professionally, Shelley is a member of the Kansas Public Health Association, Chronic Disease Alliance of Kansas and Wellness Councils of America. To remain current in activities in Sedgwick County, Shelley is on the K-State Research and Extension Program Development Committee and serves as the Secretary.  She is also the Open Streets ICT Program Committee Chair.  As a member of the Let’s Move Outside Steering Committee, Shelley serves as the Build the Network co-chair.  Health & Wellness Coalition committee involvement includes chair of Access to Health Food Policy sub-committee, registrar for the Working Well Conference and co-chair of the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity committee.

Personally, Shelley enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, son and English Springer Spaniel. They are active in sports and outdoor activities. Shelley enjoys exercising, cooking and knitting in her free time.  She is an active member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church where she serves as the Lay Leader of the Healthy Congregation Team.

Shelley has a Master of Education from Wichita State University in Exercise Science and a Bachelor of Science from Kansas State University in Kinesiology.

Learning Objectives:

  1. List the benefits of collaborating with community coalitions to improve the health of your congregation.
  2. Learn how to effectively create a cohesive wellness team.
  3. Learn the value of policy.
  4. Discuss barriers to health facing congregations.
  5. Implement ready-to-use resources to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.


  1. According to the most recent study from Feeding America, the U.S. charitable food system, which includes regional food banks as the main procurers and food pantries as the main distributors, was serving about 46.5 million low-income people per year, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. During the emergence of the obesity epidemic, observers noted that many who were overweight were also undernourished and food insecure, a phenomenon that became known as the “hunger-obesity paradox” Campbell, Elizabeth; Webb, Karen; Ross, Michelle; Crawford, Patricia; Hudson, Heather and Ken Hecht. Nutrition-Focused Food Banking. Institute of Medicine. Copyright 2015 by the National Academy of Sciences. April 2, 2015.
  2. According to American Religious Identification Survey, a random digit dial survey of more than 50,000 Americans, 85% of American adults identify with a religion Campbell, Marci. Church-Based Health Promotion Interventions: Evidence and Lessons Learned. UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  3. Ask your food bank first if they have healthy foods you’re looking for available and then how you can get more of them more often. Draft a policy that addresses selection of foods and solicited donations. Put together a brochure or flyer communicating to donors which foods are most appreciated. If faith based community has limited cold storage and limited hours of operation, coordinate the timing and amount of your fresh food donations with your distribution so that food does not spoil before clients can take it. Dover, Sally; Kunkel, Kelly. Promoting Healthy Eating at Food Shelves. Health and Nutrition Programs. University of Minnesota. 2014
  4. Starting a garden with your faith-based community is a deeply rewarding and satisfying experience. A vegetable garden is a great way to provide healthy, fresh food for people in your community and to teach children that healthy eating can be fun. Perhaps your congregation has land available for a community garden to increase healthy choices at events and in food banks. Pandya, Pratik MPH. Health Risk Behaviors of Kansans 2015. Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Health Promotion. February 2017
  5. Leaders in faith communities are in an important position to help people prevent those chronic diseases. Members of faith based communities trust them and understand that they support their well-being. Leaders know how to reach and inspire congregation, they can motivate them to take steps toward healthful living. Eating Smart and Moving More. Planning and Resource guide. NC Division of Public Health. Revised online publication date: October 2010. Original publication date: June 2004.
  6. Implement a physical activity project, most commonly in the form of social-support programs, walking club, walking bible studies and many more Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Policy. Retrieved from http://www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/PhysicalActivityAndHealthyEatingPolicy/PhysicalActivityAndHealthyEatingPolicy.html