Quit “Cold Turkey,” help build a park

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group (CDG) has announced participation in the statewide Cold Turkey project, a nicotine cessation contest created by the Reichardt Family Foundation and Above + Beyond Cancer.

According to the Cold Turkey Project web site: “To celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the release of the 1971 Norman Lear movie “Cold Turkey,” the Reichardt Family Foundation in conjunction with Above + Beyond Cancer have created a nicotine-cessation contest for Iowa small towns under 5,000 in population. The winning community will receive $50,000 for a designated community improvement.”

A committee of 12 CDG volunteers have been meeting since September discussing and designing the local program with the help of 11 community partner organizations that include

The American Heart Association, City of Mount Vernon, Cornell College, Hills Bank, Lester Buresh Family Community Wellness Center, Lynch Ford Chevrolet, MercyCare Business Health Solutions, Mount Vernon Community Charitable Development Group, Mount Vernon Community School District, Mount Vernon Police Department, and the Wellness Coalition of Rural Linn County (formerly RC Rail).

The Local Cold Turkey project committee has contracted with MercyCare Business Health Solutions based in Cedar Rapids to manage the two-month program that will monitor the progress of 20+ local “Fighters” who choose to sign up for the free two-month cessation clinic. Fighters will have access to a weekly Zoom cessation class, three MercyCare administered nicotine tests throughout the process (one at the beginning, near the middle of the program and at the end), and a network of support services including a free two-month membership to the Lester Buresh Family Community Wellness Center.

One small town in Iowa (under 5,000 in population) will be chosen the winner and will be given a $50,000 grant to be used for a community project. The Local Cold Turkey project committee has chosen to split the money into two local projects: 1) the completion of the Scarlett Boutique Alley Pocket Park, and 2) equipment needed to finish an exercise trail outside of the Community Wellness Center.

“We looked at this as a great fundraising opportunity,” said Joe Jennison, Chair of the Committee. “If there are residents who have been thinking about a cessation program, this may be the time to quit and at the same time do something great for the community that they call home. All Fighters names will be listed on a plaque outside of the winning projects as major donors to the park and trail.”

For more information or to sign up for the program, contact Joe Jennison, CDG Director, at (319) 210-9935 or through email at director@visitmvl.com