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National Grange to Highlight Rural Health at Annual Convention

The National Grange, the United States’ oldest agricultural fraternity and rural service organization, will hold its 157th annual conference and legislative session at the Niagara Falls Convention Center in Niagara Falls, New York from November 14-18, 2023.  With nearly 600 elected officers, Delegates, Grange members and guests attending, the annual convention serves to set national legislative policies for the organization and is also a major networking and social event for members from across the country.

This year, partnerships will be elevating the National Grange’s work on behalf of all Americans.

While most events during the week are for members-only, one event open to the public is presented in partnership with Rural Minds, a nonprofit focused on destigmatizing conversations about mental health in rural America, and NY FarmNet. The “Talk Saves Lives” program will be held on Saturday, November 18 at 9:00am in the Olmsted room of the Niagara Falls Convention Center, 101 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls, NY.

To help confront the rural mental health emergency happening in rural America, this presentation will provide suicide awareness and prevention training from Becky Wiseman, LCSW-R, a mental health professional with an approach that’s relevant to people living in rural communities. Among other things, attendees will learn what causes people to consider suicide, protective factors that lower suicide risk, and strategies for managing mental health and being proactive about self-care.

Also open to the public is a Vaccination Clinic, in partnership with McUlsky Health Force and pharmacists from the American Society of Consulting Pharmacists. From 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 16 – National Rural Health Day – this vaccination clinic will be open in the Cataract Room of the Niagara Falls Convention Center.

The latest COVID and influenza vaccines will be available – free of charge. Attendees are encouraged to bring proof of insurance or Medicare/Medicaid number. A limited number of gift cards will be made available to those who receive vaccinations at this clinic. This project is supported by the Administration for Community Living through USAging. Recently, the National Grange held a similar drive at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts, administering over 3,500 immunizations.

Other events throughout the convention include a Quilts of Valor presentation to local veterans on Wednesday, November 15; workshops on programming, legislative efforts, and more for members; the Grange Honors Night on Friday, November 17; and the annual Celebration Banquet and Evening of Excellence, highlighting a year of work for rural America.

With more than 500 attendees expected, members will be going on tours of Niagara Falls and the Power Vista, and will be performing community service in the region. A collection of socks, mittens, and hats will be collected to be presented to Community Missions of Niagara Frontier.

During the Grange Honors night on Friday, November 17, the National Grange will present the National Teacher of the Year, Firefighter/EMS Worker of the Year, and Law Enforcement Officer of the Year awards, among awards for Grange members and Granges nationwide.

Additionally, the Grange Showcase – open to the public in the Convention Center – will feature the work of the seven host region states, contest entries from around the country, and will also emphasize the work the National Grange has completed, including partnerships with Rural Minds, USAging, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Affordable Connectivity Program, the Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

“This is one of largest Conventions in recent memory,” said National Grange President Betsy Huber, “We are thrilled to feel so welcome in New York. This Convention is not just for Grangers, but also serves to show all of America what the Grange has done and will continue to do on behalf of rural and small-town America. We are incredibly grateful for the support of partners like Rural Minds, USPTO, and McUlsky Health Force being a part of this Convention.”

The National Grange is the country’s largest and oldest agricultural fraternity, advocating for rural America with more than 1,400 Community Granges and 140,000 members serving their hometowns nationwide.

For additional information on this convention, please visit http://grange.biz/Convention157.

CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS
November 14 – 12:00 – Advocacy Luncheon – Speakers: Mayor Robert Restaino and Assemblyman Brian Manktelow
November 15 – 12:15 – Agriculture Luncheon – Speaker: Kendra Lamb (Lamb Family Farms) and NY Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball
November 15 – 7:30pm – Grange Hall of Fame and Quilts of Valor Presentations
November 16 – 2:00pm – Jeff Winton, CEO and Founder of Rural Minds, filmmaker Travis Carlson, and Becky Wiseman from NY Farmnet to speak at session. Workshop to follow.
November 17 – 7:30pm – National Grange Honors Night
November 18 – 9:00am – “Talk Saves Lives” workshop

Each of these events is open to public, (meals with tickets, available through November 8 at http://grange.biz/Convention157.

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