BEAVERCREEK, OREGON, Oct. 28, 2022 —Laura Minato, Beavercreek Elementary School counselor is working with the American Heart Association to screen student families for food insecurities and help provide relief where needed most.

“If children are hungry, they're not able to focus on learning. It's a basic need,” said Minato.  “By adding nutrition screening to my work as a school counselor, I'm able to give my kids a greater chance of success in school and in life.”

Take a drive through Beavercreek, Oregon you’ll notice they don’t have a town square. Rather, it’s the small rural elementary school that serves as the community hub. Minato and her fellow educators connect with community members through the school in ways they couldn’t otherwise.

“It's rewarding to see how student families are responding,” said Minato. “They are very excited and enthusiastic about having access to more fresh fruits and veggies. As more families are touched by the program, more families have expressed interest in participating.”

Minato first learned of the American Heart Association's nutrition security emphasis at a community discussion in 2021 and immediately began thinking of ways she could incorporate the association's food screening questions into her work with students and their families. She was able to add three simple questions to a parent survey that is helping identify at-risk families.

“I love being able to help serve the whole person. This collaboration with the American Heart Association is a door that may open opportunities to meet other needs our students' families may have,” said Minato. “Every positive interaction I have with students and their families helps build strong relationships.”

Working with the American Heart Association to help students succeed has been a rewarding experience for Minato. She’s now working to encourage other school counselors in her district and across Oregon to add nutrition screening to what they already offer.

“This is something we can offer students and their families with a minimal amount of extra effort. It's a real win that serves the whole person,” said Minato.

The American Heart Association in Oregon and southwest Washington is working with schools and clinics to provide food insecurity screenings and referral tools. This provides resources to those who may be worried about accessing food as well as specifically healthy food, regardless of SNAP (or other food assistance program) eligibility.

“Nutrition security is a top priority for us,” said Avery Dukes, American Heart Association community impact director in Oregon and southwest Washington. “Our nutrition security work in the communities we service is just one of the ways we’re helping people live longer, healthier lives.”


Photo Caption: Laura Minato, Beavercreek school counselor, Beavercreek, Oregon

Photo Credit: Chip Sudbeck




About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

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1 Department of Health and Human Services, 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines, page 14. Available for download here: