Trying to spark a healthy change in your office? Try adding some friendly competition to your workplace. Awards can be anything from the best parking spot, healthcare discounts, time off, a company-sponsored lunch, gift cards, or bragging rights!

  • Walking—Challenge your coworkers to see who can take the most steps in a week. Research shows that walking reduces your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You can track your steps with fitness trackers or an app on your smart phone. Post a chart with everyone’s stats in the office and update it every day to keep the competitive streak going.
  • Water drinking— Drink up! Hydration is key to overall health and maintaining a healthy weight. Keep a white board in the kitchen and have everyone write a tally every time they consume 8 ounces of water.
  • Sleeping—Getting enough sleep each night is important for your physical health, emotional health, and overall productivity at work. Challenge your coworkers to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night one week. The department with the highest success rate wins.
  • Bringing lunch—It’s easier to know what’s in your food when you’re the one making it. Challenge your office to bring a healthy lunch to work twice a week for a month. With a variety of healthy ideas, healthy doesn’t have to be boring.

Community Health Charities has a variety of health resources to help motivate your employees. Check them out, challenge your coworkers, and maximize employee wellness!

This September 11th, remember those who have fallen by supporting military and veterans in need. 1 of every 4 active duty military members shows signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or other mental health conditions. Whether their injuries are physical, mental or both, our nation’s heroes and the families who care for them need a tremendous amount of support.

Here’s how you can honor our active military and veterans on September 11th:

  • Use our Volunteer on the Spot Guide to coordinate a volunteer event in your office. Write cards for veterans in hospitals, make snack packs for family members visiting their loved ones, or come up with your own event! To volunteer onsite, visit our volunteer tool to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Support Hero’s Health. Your support will provide critical physical and mental health programs focused on hope and healing, support for families’ of injured veterans, employment and job training programs, and more.
  • Share our Military and Veteran Health Resources with someone in need.

Thank you to our service members and all those who support them.

Disaster response is not just about rebuilding homes—it’s about rebuilding lives.

Thousands of lives have been affected by Harvey and Irma, both inside their paths and out. Family and friends of our staff have lost everything, been displaced from their homes, and are living in shelters while their communities recover and grow during the storms’ aftermath. Shelly Douglas, a staff member, had a friend recently pass in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Amid the heartbreak, the solidarity and support we have seen has been uplifting—dedicated staff, charity partners working around the clock, and supporters, like you, giving to support communities in need. Funds raised through our Crisis and Disaster Response fund provide everything from emergency medical and healthcare services to mental health and wellbeing. Long-term recovery and rebuilding takes time and resources, as it is more than supplies and buildings—it’s rebuilding and restoring the lives of individuals, children, and families.

We’re building stronger, healthier communities. Together.

Wildfires: it’s more than just the burn; it’s the health impact

Wildfires are burning across the west coast, affecting both the communities witnessing active fire and those surrounding them—a study found that two thirds of the United States was affected by smoke-induced air conditions in 2011.  The fine particles dispersed into the air during fire are linked to a range of health conditions, ranging from burning eyes to aggravating chronic heart and lung diseases.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that those living in areas affected by smoke and worsened air conditions take active steps during wildfires.

  • Use common sense. Stay inside if it look smoky outside or you’ve heard reports of unhealthy air conditions.
  • Pay attention to local air quality reports. Stay up-to-date on news coverage and visit AirNow for your area’s air quality.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Avoid anything that burns—wood fireplaces, gas stoves, etc.—plus, steer clear of candles, wait to vacuum, and do not smoke.
  • Run your air conditioner. Filter clean air rather than bringing contaminated air inside.
  • Talk to a doctor. If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children you may want to leave the area.

Take American Lung Association’s special precautions if you have lung disease, chronic disease, or diabetes.

Cause an impact for those living with dangerous air quality by supporting Crisis and Disaster Response and utilizing our crisis resources.

A healthy diet and active lifestyle affects a whole lot more than weight: USDA research indicates that a healthy diet full of nutritious food plays a part in preventing chronic disease.

Whether you’re planning school lunches or making healthy changes to your lifestyle, it’s hard to make a big change all at once. To get started, try these four small changes to make your health and long-term wellbeing a priority.

  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables work to maintain a healthy blood pressure, possibly protect against certain types of cancer, and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Use these creative ways to slip fruits and veggies into your snacks and meals.
  • Make half of your grains whole grains. Whole grains help maintain a healthy digestive track and keep your blood sugar steady, lowering your risk of diabetes. Check out the USDA’s tips on adding whole grain to your diet, as well as the American Diabetes Association’s Create Your Plate tool to ensure you’re getting enough whole grain in your meals.
  • Move to low-fat and fat-free dairy. While dairy can promote bone health, consuming too much high-fat dairy can result in high cholesterol levels. This can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Follow these ten simple steps to make sure you’re making the right dairy choices.
  • Vary your protein routine. Switch it up! Protein fuels your body, so make sure you’re balancing the kinds you’re eating. Regularly consuming lean protein can help maintain heart health, relieve the symptoms of arthritis, and more.

Check out our health resources for more ways to feel healthy and energized!

What’s your company’s biggest cost?

According to a study by PWC, financial stress could be costing you—big time.

The study found that one in three employees reports that their personal finances are a distraction at work—and 46% of those people said they spend three hours or more a week thinking about or dealing with their personal finances at work. This results in $5,000 in productivity loss a year per employee.

To combat this, U.S. employers are implementing financial wellness programs for their employees.

This doesn’t mean better insurance policies, 401k policies, or the occasional bonus—It means offering programs that teach employees how to manage their finances: budgeting within their means, growing a savings account, utilizing insurance, and more. Whether it’s free employee consultations, workshops, or online resources, see what you can do to reduce employee financial stress and increase productivity.

Health and wellbeing is all-encompassing and includes financial wellness.  Check out a few of the financial resources by one of our charity partners.

Community Health Charities hosted our 7th Annual Health Heroes at Work Recognition Heroes Breakfast on August 18 in Denver, Colorado.

The event celebrated Colorado businesses’ and nonprofits’ amazing work to build stronger, healthier Colorado communities.

“The Hero’s Health breakfast in Denver was an awesome opportunity to celebrate the amazing working taking place in the community.  I enjoyed meeting representatives from local charities as well as all of the campaigns,” said Shelley Hayes, Vice President of Customer Solutions at Community Health Charities. “Seeing Colorado come together to build stronger communities inspires me both personally and professionally.”

The event was emceed by Corey Rose from 9News, an award-winning journalist who annually hosts the event. Beth Bowlen, daughter of Denver Bronco’s owner Pat Bowlen, was the keynote speaker. Beth is a prominent part of the Denver community and previously worked as the director of special projects for the Denver Broncos. She currently serves on multiple nonprofit executive boards, including Alzheimer’s Association.

Don Parsons, a retired surgeon general working at 9Health Fair, was this year’s Health Hero of the Year. Don has been with 9Health Fair for 10 years, serving on the Medical Advisory Committee and Board of Trustees and working as the site coordinator at the Summit County Fair in Frisco. His dedicated spirit demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the medical, health, and wellness of communities in Colorado.

Community Health Charities recognized local company partners whose campaigns excelled. Recipients of the 2017 Campaign Excellence award included Great-West Financial, Kaiser Permanente, King Soopers/City Market, and TIAA. Winners of the 2017 Campaign Success Award included Pinnacol Assurance, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Hyatt Regency Denver.

9News ran a segment on Parsons and Community Health Charities.

Thank you to all that attended the breakfast—and to everyone that continues to work to build stronger, healthier communities.

Everyone loves a barbeque—but this classic option isn’t the only way to honor America’s workers this Labor Day. Try one of our three unconventional ways to celebrate Labor Day this year:

  • Volunteer! Labor Day honors Americas’ workers, but many of them—nurses, emergency responders, police officers, and farmers to name a few—can’t take the day off. Use our volunteer tool to find volunteer opportunities near you.
  • Organize a Volunteer on the Spot event at your workplace this week—and labor for a good cause. You and your coworkers can make a difference on your lunch breaks or in between projects without leaving the office with the onsite volunteer projects in our guide.
  • Begin making employee wellness and engagement priorities in your workplace. Make sure everyone you work with is happy, healthy and able to perform their best.

On Monday, August 21, 2017, North America will see the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse we’ve had since 1979.

While it’s tempting, it’s dangerous to look directly at the eclipse. The sun’s rays are much more powerful during an eclipse than a normal day, and since the retina does not have pain receptors, you can’t feel your eyes being damaged.

Try one of these easy tips to prevent retinal damage or eclipse blindness:

  • Purchase eyewear specifically designed for looking at eclipses. Ordinary sunglasses are not a substitute—keep your eyes safe and get the real thing! Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for more details.
  • Install a solar filter on your telescope, camera, binoculars, or other viewing devices. Simply looking through these while wearing solar eyewear will not do! These devices magnify the sunlight, making the rays even more powerful.
  • Pinhole projection is another safe option for viewing. This involves passing sunlight through a small opening (such as a hole punched in an index card) and projecting an image of the Sun onto a nearby surface (for example, another card or the ground). Do NOT look at the Sun through a pinhole!

For complete safety information, visit the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Eclipse 101 page.

Unsure when the eclipse will be visible in your area? Check here.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a Community Health Charities partner, issued a warning about a fake charity sweepstakes. The scammers call from a Washington D.C. area code (202), referencing the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and saying that the recipient has won $450,000. The catch? The “winner” must give up their banking information for taxes and insurance. Both the FTC and the Make-A-Wish Foundation posted alerts about the scam.

Keep yourself safe from charity scammers with BBB’s tips on identifying fraud:

  1. If a caller says you have to “pay” for a prize, hang up.  If you truly participated and won a sweepstakes, you will never have to send any type of payment to get your winnings.
  2. Government agencies won’t call you about sweepstakes.Scammers use this ruse to gain your trust and/or to make their tax or fees claim sound more official.
  3. Watch out for unauthorized use of a real charity name. The caller may use the name of a nationally recognized charity, like Make-A-Wish Foundation, to help build credibility, they may even offer to “connect” you with the sweepstakes office of that charity.  That’s another false-trust builder. If you truly want to connect with the charity, go to their official website for details.
  4. Don’t succumb to pressure to do as they say.Sometimes the longer you stay on the call, the more opportunities you will be providing scammers to push the right buttons to convince you.
  5. Report suspected scams to government authorities and the BBB.If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, contact the office of the attorney general in your state, report it to the FTC at ftccomplaintassistant.gov, and post your concerns to BBB Scam Tracker so that other members of the public will be informed about it.