One in six Hoosiers experience hunger but local organizations are fighting to change that. Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana recently received a $100,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to launch the ‘Food is Medicine‘ program.
The initiative pairs Gleaners with Eskenazi Health Center Pecar to conduct food insecurity screenings and interventions, especially for people living on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Eskenazi Health Center Pecar, which is located on the Jim and Lois Ackerman Health Campus, provides a medical home for families in the areas of internal and family medicine, pediatrics and adolescent care, family planning, dental care, and social services.
Clients of the Pecar Center are often referred to as the Crooked Creek Food Pantry (CCFP), which is located in the same facility as the health clinic. CCFP serves families-in-need in Pike Township and western Washington Township. Gleaners classifieds that area of Marion County as a food desert, due to the lack of easily assessable grocery stores to buy affordable and fresh foods.
“Food insecurity is a critical factor in improving the overall health and well-being of individuals in the communities we serve, which is why Anthem Foundation is so proud to partner with Gleaners,” said Dr. Kimberly Roop, Medicaid Plan president at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Indiana.
Founded in 1980, Gleaners is a proud member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest food bank network. Since its inception, Gleaners has distributed over 360 million pounds of food and critical grocery products to nearly 600 hunger relief agencies and partners serving Hoosiers in need.
The new ‘Food is Medicine’ program introduces a role in which healthcare providers and essential hospital systems will be able to be a part of the ongoing efforts to identify individuals affected by food insecurity and addressing their health and nutrition needs. Since 2004, the Anthem Foundation and Feeding America have partnered to address hunger-relief efforts and continue to work together in helping to improve the health of the communities they serve.