LaFayette couple work to make the area healthy

Published 6:04 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

LaFAYETTE — The topic of health has become commonplace among conversation and headlines but, for many, that is where it stops. To raise public awareness and educate people on the benefits of healthier living, a LaFayette couple has created Make Me Anew, Inc.

Founders Carlena and Eric Barker describe Make Me Anew as a faith-based health initiative that they started to educate people on easy ways to eat better and live healthier.

“This is a lifestyle for us,” Carlena Barker said. “We haven’t always been health conscious, but as you go on through the years you realize that where you were 10 years ago, you aren’t going to be able to maintain that or improve upon that if you don’t put some things in place to try to improve this body or work this body to its maximum potential.”

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When they did make the lifestyle change, they immediately started sharing their findings with others. Starting a supper club at Opelika’s Outreach Seventh-Day Adventist Church in 2009, the Barkers made meals that focused on different parts of the body.

“We find out what particular foods that are good for the kidney,” Carlena Barker said. “Kidney beans are good for it, celery, potatoes, things like that. We create a meal around that … and try to cater the whole meal so that what you are eating gets your mind thinking ‘this food is good for this part of my body.”

After posting their work on Facebook people started taking notice, including people here in Chambers County. Now, the Barkers are working with the city of LaFayette in order to set up booths where they can pass out samples and gage community interest in a healthier way of living.

“We want to be a part of trying to put things in place to hopefully improve not only our health but the health of at least one other person,” Carlena said. “You may not be able to reach everybody but at least there would be someone out there who would want to maintain or improve their health.”

Make Me Anew is a culmination of health and cooking information garnered from reading, research and health seminars. The Barkers said their church will help send them to events in order for them to bring back healthy tips and advice.

Both of the Barkers are teachers by profession. Carlena taught at W.F. Burns for a time before deciding to homeschool their children and  Eric Barker has 20 years of experience teaching at LaFayette High School. He coaches basketball for junior high students and said that he encourages the students and athletes he works with to improve their health so that they have a higher chance of avoiding issues as they get older. 

The Barkers said the goal of Make Me Anew is to become an ingrained part of the culture in Chambers County.

They want the organization to be carried on into the future so that generations to come continuously see the benefits of living healthy.

“We want to build a partnership with the community,” Carlena said. “And not just a temporary one, but a sustainable relationship so that if one person falls off, we have others to help maintain this thing and it can carry on without the one particular person.”

They said that LaFayette citizens can expect to see them in the community starting mid-September and are invited to reach out for more information on their Make Me Anew Facebook page.