September 12, 2023
Farm to Food Bank is Accelerating Access
There are many steps involved in getting a food item into the hands of a guest at our food bank or a...
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Feed My People is utilizing more resources, tools, and the power of community to tackle the urgent need for healthy food access. Our approach to hunger relief is multi-faceted but is centered on solving two problems. First, connecting people in need to immediate food resources is our driving force. It requires a fast response because hunger waits for no one. Removing barriers and multiplying efforts to food access is imperative as a first step. However, a second focus emerges at the crossroad between today's crisis and tomorrow's outcome.
Our goal has historically been to improve the amount of fresh, healthy food in our inventory, but we're not satisfied yet. We're working harder than ever to source even more fresh fruits, vegetables, heart-friendly options, and other healthy food so that those we serve today have access to the best nutrition possible for a healthier mind and body tomorrow.
Over the next two years, FMP is working together with Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), a national organization dedicated to accelerating the work of food banks by prioritizing nutritional goals. As a Healthy Hunger Relief partner, we will receive support from PHA to implement a comprehensive nutrition ranking system developed by experts at Healthy Eating Research. In addition, PHA will provide technical assistance to help us understand the nutritional quality of our inventory and make strategic decisions within and across food categories as we strive to enhance food equity.
"A man wearing battery packs and a heart monitor was in line waiting for food. The doctors here told him there was nothing more they could do, but they knew someone who could. He was referred to a doctor in the Twin Cities and had a heart pump installed. He was feeling well for the first time in a long time, but the cost of gas to get to his medical appointments was overwhelming his budget. He was grateful to be able to get extra groceries."
- Volunteer at a Humbird Pop-Up Pantry this fall
Through our partnership, we'll work together to reduce low nutrition food from our inventory and replace it with healthier options. While we understand the critical importance of integrating more nutritious items, working with PHA will provide the practical support we need to create a realistic plan to improve access to healthy food for those we serve long term.
The Marshfield Clinic Health System Food Pharmacy pilot program is partnering with Feed My People to reduce the burden that diabetes places on an individual by offering appropriate, nutritional food items.
"Diabetes is a costly diagnosis for anyone to manage, " shared JoAnna Bernklau, Community Benefits Coordinator with the Marshfield's Center for Community Health Advancement. "Through this pilot program, we seek to support those who are low income and have uncontrolled diabetes by offering meal kits to help supplement food needs. In addition, we offer free health coaching to help support their medical needs and provide the tools to monitor their weight and blood pressure. Our goal is to reduce the burden that diabetes places on an individual by helping to support other needs, so individuals can better focus on their health."
Other partner programs are simply adding more healthy food to their existing meals. For example, Agnes' Table in Chippewa Falls is making sure every to-go bag has a fresh fruit waiting inside, along with a hot meal. Thursday's Table in Menomonie is always packing in as much nutrition as possible, like offering steamed veggies on the side, mixing them into the main dish, and incorporating fruit into the dessert.
We're ensuring that our community can prioritize good health even when times are hard. Together, we are shifting expectations so that food insecurity doesn't have to mean sacrificing one's health.
The article is from Feed My People's winter 2021 newsletter. Read the full issue here.