In September 2016, MANNA FoodBank was awarded a grant of $65,000 from the Community Investment program of Mission Health. This grant included support for our Clinic Referral pilot program, where we partner with area clinics to refer food insecure patients to available resources. It also included support for Nutritional Nudge events, where MANNA staff provide healthy cooking demonstrations at area pantries using the fresh fruits and vegetables available for our clients, “nudging” them towards more nutritious food and healthier eating. As we wrap up our pilot year of funding we are excited to report our results.
Thanks to this partnership, a culture of nutrition and health has been planted in the MANNA food distribution network. Agencies participating in our Nutrition WORKS initiative are seeing the positive correlation between Nutritional Nudge activities and the quantities of produce and other nutritional foods they are able to distribute to people in need. We are proud to report that 72% of participating nudge agencies have increased the quantity of nutritionally-dense, healthy foods to encourage good health since the beginning of this pilot project.
Another component of this funding, the Clinic Referral pilot, is being enthusiastically received and is gaining momentum. In partnership with the YMCA, we are working to encouraging a paradigm shift in client behavior by encouraging people in need to utilize available food resources, increasing the healthy food that is available to them, and providing nutrition education to increase the likelihood that clients will select the healthier options. We look forward to continuing this momentum and are working to sustain funding for this important work.