It takes more than food to solve hunger. We’re working with health care institutions to address health disparities and food insecurity in our region’s most in-need communities.
Good food means good health
Having access to healthy food throughout your life makes all the difference. With enough healthy food, school-age children are better prepared to focus on schoolwork; adults are absent from work less often; pregnant women have fewer birth complications; and seniors reduce their risk for adverse health conditions. By contrast, people who experience food insecurity have a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma.
By working with our partners to integrate nutritious food directly into doctor’s offices and hospitals, we’re able to assist people across our region in preventing and managing diet-related illnesses.
How we help
Food pharmacy program
One of the primary models that the food bank currently is using to pair food with medical care is known as a “food pharmacy.” If a patient screens positive for food insecurity based on their answers to two screener questions, they receive a “prescription” to the food pharmacy based on their specific health care needs.
The food bank has put the food pharmacy model into operation through a partnership with the Diabetes Care Clinic at Children’s National Hospital. Opened in October 2021, the Children’s food pharmacy reaches 150 families a month, providing shelf-stable groceries and fresh produce immediately following their child’s medical appointments.
In addition to groceries, families also receive recipe cards and other nutritional assistance to help them better manage their health conditions.
Healthy moms, healthy babies
In communities where there are high rates of birth complications, low birth weights, and elevated infant and maternal mortality rates, we’re partnering with healthcare providers to give new mothers groceries at their prenatal visits. New moms also receive groceries during perinatal visits for the first three months of their baby’s life. Research shows that children with a strong nutritional start have improved health and other outcomes throughout their lives. With the help of our partners, we can make a significant impact on the health of parents and children.
Help for stroke patients
People who have experienced a stroke are often homebound and cannot access the food they need to both heal and stay healthy. Our Food+ Health program for stroke patients home-delivers groceries that are tailored to a patient’s dietary needs. Through nutritious food and quality healthcare from our partners, this pilot is designed to help participants decrease blood pressure, reduce their number of doctor visits, and improve overall health.
It takes more than food
The Capital Area Food Bank is launching multiple Food+ programs to help find solutions for hunger by addressing its root causes. If your organization offers services to people in need or would like to help make these programs possible, please get in contact with Susan Topping at firstname.lastname@example.org.