The Food Bank’s Community Health & Engagement Department launched in 2016 to focus on access to nutritious food for those in food-insecure situations through education, a structured nutrition policy, and targeted partnerships that help those we serve become less reliant on our network of emergency food providers.
The Healthy Pantry Program addresses the first two by training and certifying agencies on creating an environment that provides easy nutrition education to their clients. This includes pantry signage and additional tools specific for agencies who take on this holistic model. The three main goals are to provide more nutritious food to the community, create an environment that is supportive of healthy choices, and help clients feel confident in preparing and consuming healthier foods. Currently, 40 of our partner food pantries are participating in the program.
Strategic Partnerships at the Food Bank
Community Health & Engagement is also building strategic partnerships with healthcare providers across our service area. Patients who visit one of these hospitals or clinics will be screened for food insecurity and will receive a box from an on-site pantry. These will be especially helpful for patients who are struggling with things like diabetes or high blood pressure. Our current health partnerships include UNC Rex Hospital, UNC’s adult and pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Care Centers, Root Causes Clinic (Durham), Vidant Medical Center (Greenville), and New Hanover Regional Medical Center (Wilmington).
The Food Bank will continue to look for and develop partnerships that build solutions to end hunger and empower our communities to move beyond food insecurity.