FREEPORT — Brazosport Cares wants to offer people more than emergency food. It wants to feed their knowledge and teach them how to live healthier lives.

The organization is starting a series of classes that will help residents manage chronic conditions through healthy habits and education on healthier lifestyles.

The classes will continue from 6 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday through March 26 at the Brazosport Cares pantry, 916 N. Gulf Blvd. Up to 15 participants can be accommodated.

The classes will help people manage their chronic conditions by making healthy choices, said Nicole Larson, development associate for Brazosport Cares.

“It is open to the public and I encourage anyone who wants to attend to join us,” she said, adding the program offers “lots of great information to help everyone be healthier for 2019.”

This class will be taught by Carolina Aguilar, Volunteer Engagement and Education/Outreach Program Associate at the food pantry.

The classes came from a need to make sure Brazosport Cares is not just a food pantry but also a hub of nutrition information for Brazoria County, Aguilar said.

“We are really the first ones down here that are using food as a catalyst for change,” she said.

The food pantry is taking everyone with a chronic condition and teaching them how to handle it, Aguilar said.

“They can learn to live with and manage their chronic conditions,” she said.

The food pantry believes classes can be another way to help people live better lives, Aguilar said.

“In the end, we want our community to be healthier,” she said.

If they can connect with families in a different way other than giving them food and encourage them to become healthy, then the pantry is doing its job, Aguilar said.

Having a healthier standard of living also prevents being sick on a constant basis, Aguilar said.

“If you are sick frequently, it affects everything,” she said. “We are really trying to use these health classes as a more holistic approach to help out families out.”

While the food pantry has conducted classes in the past, this new eight-week program will be a continuation of previous offerings, Aguilar said.

“This isn’t the first class we have done at the pantry,” she said. “We actually had two very successful classes here last year.”

The first class was eating healthier and the food pantry gave attendees recipes with every class, Aguilar said.

The second class was a walk and talk program where attendees would walk in a park and get exercise, Aguilar said.

A food pantry is a necessary component to any community, but Brazosport Cares has the ability to offer more, Aguilar said.

“This isn’t the first time we are doing a class like this but we are really excited to be able to use food to change habits and just make our community healthier,” she said. “That really is just what we are trying to focus on more now.”

Connor Behrens is features writer for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0150.

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