UNUM Group/Colonial Life Awards The Big Red Barn Retreat A Grant to Support Farm-to-Table Program for Veterans, Active-Duty Service Members, and First Responders

The Big Red Barn Retreat

BLYTHEWOOD SC – UNUM Group/Colonial Life have awarded The Big Red Barn Retreat a $23,497 grant on July 1st, 2022 to fund its Farm-to-Table program for Veterans, Active-Duty Service Members,and First Responders. Thanks to UNUM Group/Colonial Life, this grant will allow The Big Red Barn Retreat to host a monthly cooking class on-site for eight to ten participants and cover the cost of instruction, supplies, and ingredients.

Veterans, Active-Duty service members, and First Responders will have the opportunity to construct a meal using fresh, healthy ingredients. Led by the Big Red Barn Retreat's Warrior PATHH guide, Jason Dersch, participants will recognize the value of cooking and nutrition as a wellness practice. Furthermore, participants will be encouraged to evaluate their current nutritional practices and incorporate healthy meal planning into their daily lives.

The generosity shown by UNUM Group/Colonial Life will fill a great need for the Veteran and First Responder community in SC. During times of struggle, Veterans and First Responders self-care suffers, which often leads to poor nutritional practices. This can include eating too little or too much. With the Farm-To-Table (F2T) Cooking program, a key focus will be educating participants about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet. Moreover, this hands-on cooking class will give participants training on how to create a healthy meal, plus experience the power of food as medicine.

Furthermore, participants will enjoy the bonding experience that cooking provides and will help them develop their wellness practice regimen. Cooking has been identified as one of the best ways to feel more connected to those around you by working together, strengthening bonds, and building lifelong memories to create delicious and healthy meals for all to enjoy.

The instructor, Warrior PATHH Guide Jason Dersch, is a fourteen year Army Veteran with the majority of his time spent as an Airborne Infantryman with the famed 82nd Airborne Division. After serving in the Army, he opened and managed restaurants in Mexico, and later attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in San Francisco where he graduated with honors and received his degree in Culinary Arts.

UNUM Group/Colonial Life is committed to helping its local communities when they need it most. Veterans are disproportionately at risk to adverse health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This program will engage our Veterans in a variety of cooking activities, including meal planning, basic nutrition, cooking, and food safety procedures and help them regulate their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, so they can live the life they desire full of joy, purpose, and connection.

About The Big Red Barn Retreat – The Big Red Barn Retreat (BRBR) is a 501(c)(3) located in Blythewood, South Carolina that provides free therapeutic services, programs, and training to Veterans, Active-Duty service members, and First Responders struggling with combat-related or critical incident related stress.  Established in 2014, the BRBR helps more than 2,500 military and first responders personnel annually.  All services provided at the BRBR are funded through grants and private donations.  For more information, please visit www.thebigredbarnretreat.org or email info@thebigredbarnretreat.org

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