Go Noodle. Destination dining.

What does a physical health education initiative have to do with a marketing catchphrase used to sell vacation hot spots to foodie travelers? Thirteen years ago the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Foundation sat down with Herman Muller, Executive Chef of the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club to brainstorm on a premier philanthropic dining event that would spark the interest of people living on the First Coast. Thinking outside the box, they took a new angle on the concept of destination dining: a culinary event where patrons could dine out on fare from their preferred vacation destinations without having to venture far from home.

“We asked the question, where are places that people on the First Coast like to visit?” Says Jane Lanier, President of the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Foundation.

The Greenbrier, The Cloister, and The Breakers were just some of the names that popped up in that conversation. Chef Muller reached out to his network in the restaurant world and Delicious Destinations was born. The event raises money for the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Foundation which provides health services to children and families in need across the First Coast.

“Last year we provided 28,000 services to children and families who didn’t have access to health care.” Lanier says. “We are funding the only health curriculum available in hundreds of Florida schools.”

The curriculum is accessed through Health Teacher, an online education resource for teachers to incorporate lessons on healthy living in their classes. But it doesn’t just stop with learning, the curriculum also has an exercise component, Go Noodle. Students take a “brain break” in class to do five-minute exercises at their desks. Some of the exercises tie into the lesson, while others are designed to help get the wiggles out.

“Studies show that exercise increases focus,” says Lanier. But it is not just students that are benefiting from these programs. “On one of our annual teacher surveys, a teacher said that through this curriculum she herself was expanding her own knowledge about health.”

The 2014 Delicious Destinations event is September 3-6. It is four days of feast and drink, all for a fantastic cause. “Last year over 180 different wines were poured by Southern Wine and Spirits,” Lanier says. That is 180 separate opportunities to toast the health and wellness of children living on the First Coast.

 

For more information about Delicious Destinations visit deliciousdestinationsjax.com.