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Second Harvest to Train Health Care Workers to Identify, Address Food Insecurity in Patients

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Logo

Florida Blue Foundation provides $300,000 in funding for “Screen and Intervene: Connecting Food Insecure Patients to Resources” initiative

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 8, 2022) – Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida recently received a $300,000 grant from the Florida Blue Foundation to expand hunger relief efforts by training local health care providers to screen patients for risk factors that could indicate food insecurity so they can be directed to community resources.

Volunteers at Second Harvest sorting fresh produce to distribute
Volunteers at Second Harvest sorting fresh produce to distribute

The funding will support a three-year collaborative “Screen and Intervene: Connecting Food Insecure Patients to Resources” initiative between Second Harvest and three partners: Alliance for Community Health, the University of Central Florida and the Georgia Health Policy Center.

“Affordable access to nutritious food is essential for good health. Because of the pandemic, Central Floridians who never relied on food assistance turned to Second Harvest for help providing nourishing meals to their families. But some in the community are still hesitant or may not realize the resources available to them,” said Susan Towler, Florida Blue Foundation executive director. “Equipping health care providers with the tools to identify food insecurity and connect their patients to fresh food and needed groceries is critical to our mission of helping people and communities achieve better health.”

The program builds upon the work of the Health and Hunger Task Force, which was developed and introduced by Second Harvest in 2016 to learn how the food bank can work alongside community health care organizations to measurably impact community health and nutrition.

The goal is simple: to improve community health by using food as medicine,” said Karen Broussard, Chief Community Impact Officer at Second Harvest. “Research shows that many chronic illnesses can be effectively managed through proper nutrition. This funding expands our ability to effectively collaborate with and educate additional health partners and continue fighting diet-related diseases in our community.”

Volunteer holding bags of green beans at Second Harvest community distribution event
Volunteer holding bags of green beans at community distribution event

For more information about Second Harvest and how to help hunger relief efforts, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.

About Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (SHFBCF)SHFBCF is a member of Feeding America – the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. SHFBCF secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. In the past year, with the help of food and financial donors, volunteers and a caring, committed community, the food bank has distributed enough food for 97 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, day care centers and Kids Cafes. In addition, Second Harvest’s 16-week culinary program teaches foodservice-based technical, life and employability skills to economically hard-pressed adults at no cost to them. Second Harvest is distributing enough food for a quarter of a million meals every day to the six-county service area. To learn more about SHFBCF, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.


About the Florida Blue Foundation

The Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions and embracing solutions that create a meaningful impact in our communities. More than 6.5 million Floridians have received services as a result of our community investments since our founding in 2001. The Florida Blue Foundation’s programs are focused on advancing mental well-being, improving health equity, impacting food security and addressing systemic racism and resulting health disparities. It is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit www.FloridaBlueFoundation.com.

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About the author

Meaghan Branham

Meaghan Branham is the managing editor for i4 Business, where she oversees the company’s digital media strategy, handles client relationship marketing for the print and digital magazines, and serves as one of the publication’s lead writers. A native of Brevard County, she splits her time between Central Florida and Nashville, Tennessee.

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