Quinney Harris visits Clinton County, NY

By: Kelsey Barnes, Clinton County CPHMC Project Coordinator

The Clinton County Health Department enjoyed the company and time spent with Quinney Harris, Project Manager for the Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children (CPHMC) grant, on October 6th and 7th. The weather was remarkable for this time of year! And the timing was perfect for fall leaf peeping. Our day started off by bringing together key CPHMC staff: Mandy Snay, Director of Health Planning and Promotion; Mary Lee Ireland, WIC Coordinator; Kelsey Barnes, CPHMC Project Coordinator and Bill Badger, Principal Account Clerk. A tour of our historic building followed allowing Quinney to meet Jerie Reid, our Director of Public Health. Quinney was also able to see our WIC Clinic and was impressed with the “Soup and Sandwich of the Month” board. The next adventure was a windshield tour of Clinton County.

We visited the Plattsburgh Boat Basin to see the great views of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont in the far distance. Next, we stopped at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base, the oldest military post in the United States. We then ventured up to Clinton Community College (CCC), one of our local colleges and saw an even better view of the lake. We then headed south to Ausable Chasm. The chasm boasts 900 acres of land with various trails and activities such as tubing, rappelling, rock climbing, rafting, disc golf, hiking and biking. Despite the (very loud) construction work on the bridge overlooking the waterfall, Quinney was able to see just how majestic this location is. We then made our way to Dannemora allowing us to take in the colors of fall; red, yellow and orange. We showed Quinney the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility where Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped in June 2015. Our little rural county quickly became national news! On our way back to town we stopped to check out the city beach which has seen a lot of development.

With our stomachs growling, we stopped at Irises Café to grab some lunch. One of our coalition members and Director of the Interfaith Food Shelf, Dorothy Latta, joined us for lunch as well.

Following lunch, Dorothy gave us a tour of the Interfaith Food Shelf. One of our project objectives is to increase food banks that sell healthy foods and/or expand their inventory of healthy foods in our target community. Food is purchased through the Regional Food Bank with grant money from the New York State Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP). In 2015, the Interfaith Food Shelf purchased or received approximately 264,508 pounds of food from the Regional Food Bank and received 102,922 pounds from community donations. Quinney was able to ask questions and see what the pantry has to offer. He was pretty amazed at the size of the pantry itself as well as the number of clients that it serves. This pantry serves about 1,800 people per month and 500-600 households per year. There is no financial requirement to come to this pantry, however, visits are limited to seven times per year. Each client fills out a card with their name, address, number in household and if they receive any benefits such as SNAP or WIC. To keep track of each visit, the date is filled in on the back of the card. This brought us to the end of our first day together.

Friday morning started with a budget meeting with Bill, Mandy, Kelsey and Mary Lee. We discussed our Community Action Plan and discussed each objective in depth. After crunching numbers we needed a brain break so Mandy, Quinney and Kelsey went on a walking tour of Downtown Plattsburgh to see the historic monuments, farmers’ market site and walking paths around the city. We finished our final day together discussing our project’s next steps. Thank you Quinney, for coming to Clinton County, we hope you enjoyed your stay!