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First Posted: 1/15/2009

Lowes Foods, local talent in TV commerical
Michael Jaenicke-Assistant Features editor
LUMBERTON - Smile, you've been caught on camera.
A trip to the grocery store for about 13 people Friday morning was a potential platform for their television debut.
Film crews from Raleigh's Center Line Production shot commercial footage at Lowes Foods in Lumberton for Be Fit, a program to promote healthy lifestyles through proper nutrition and exercise. The commercial will air in mid-November.
Local “actors” volunteered their time. Most were intrigued and looking for their “15 minutes of fame” not a new career. The fictional “grocery tour” took about three hours to film.
“It was fascinating to see how they used lighting, camera angles and got people in place to do what they needed them to do,” said Bobby Rogers, one of the hand-select local performers in the commercial. “It will be interesting to see how it all comes out, especially since we got an inside into how it was done.”
Actors stood as stiff as mannequins for long periods of time before acting out three to five seconds of action.
“They seemed careful to try to get exactly what they wanted,” said another performer, Ethelene Scott, who pushed a grocery cart about 10 feet during one sequence. “I wanted to get my one shot.
The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina have bonded to launch the advertisement campaign.
The Robeson County Health Department and the Robeson County Cooperative Extension Service's program, “Project Divine” caught the eye of the NCHWT, which included it as
one of five programs of Be Fit.
Betsy Redman, of the Health Department was the brainchild of Project Divine. She added Susan Noble, an County extension agent and then contracted other health professionals to form the framework of the teaching team.
Robeson County's portion of the commercial won't fill the entire 30 to 60 second span, and there will likely be few spoken lines of dialogue.
The film crew was in New Hanover County Public Schools earlier this week shooting improvements in the physical education programs. Other stops include a visit to an Asheville agricultural farmer's market, to a Salisbury where new sidewalks were installed to encourage walking and a Raleigh business that has a health and wellness program for its employees.
Noble was tapped during a short informative interview about the program, as was Arnold Oxendine, who gave a testimonial how it has helped improve his health and mental state.
“The day ran a little shorter than we had anticipated,” Noble said of the filming. “They insisted on using local talent rather than paid actors, which they said could take longer. But there's nothing like having clients, real people show and tell the story.”
Redmon said simplicity was a concept that helps make Project Divine work for the masses.
“There are things that can easily be put into place and the original idea was targeting the people with the greatest risk,” she said. “The program was presented in Washington, D.C. With the diversity we have here the one command thing was faith. So we went in and helped set things up with a plan they could understand and put into immediate use. Unlike other programs, they had a real good chance to keep it going once we were not in the picture.”
Project Divine targeted minority churches and set up a series of classes focusing on diabetes prevention and management. Five classes were taught to 19 churches.
The first deals with education and orientation - the signs, symptoms and myths about diabetes and the beginning steps to adopt a nutrition and physical activity policy at church events. It is taught by Niakeya Jones.
County nutrition director Monica McVicker is the nutrition class instructor. Noble takes the group out for a “grocery tour,” explaining how to read labels and how to make healthy choices. Terry Mozingo handles the cardiovascular disease class. Kim Frye was in charge of the foot care class.
After completing the series, participants choose scriptures for their church's newly formed walking trail. The church also develops a nutrition policy to have at least one healthy main entree, dessert and sugar-free drink at all social functions.
Most people involved in the tapping went through the program and see its benefits.
“My husband is a diabetic and it was good seeing there are things we can do to limit sugar, salt contents, and we've also started exercising more,” said Christine Matchett of the Island Baptist Church in Red Springs.
Pembroke's Victor McLean said the program was an eye-opener to his family.
“We country folk tend to eat pretty unhealthy and I think we need to begin having better habits,” he said. “This has helped me and the rest of my family. And being in this (commercial) is different and exciting.”

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