We celebrated National Nutrition Month this March with our second annual Health Initiative. The food bank increased nutrition awareness among food insecure individuals by offering educational opportunities and health screenings at distributions throughout the county. Each week, clients received different resources. For example, Nurse Carrie from Methodist Healthcare Ministries provided blood pressure and blood sugar screenings and representatives from WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and Community Action distributed information about the services they offer.
“It’s a non-intimidating way to get yourself screened for potential health risks,” said Kristen Vannoy, a client of Hays County Food Bank. “I brought my daughter with me and saw the WIC table, and she was able to come in and get some more information that she was afraid to do prior.” Extra food for infants and formula are just one of the many resources that WIC provides.
Staff and volunteers also gave presentations throughout the month. We warned clients that too much salt or sugar can lead to diabetes, obesity, and/or hypertension. We also offered advice on portion control, demonstrating that each time you fill your plate, at least half of it should contain fruits/vegetables, a quarter should be a lean protein, and the other quarter should include whole grains. A healthy diet, along with steady exercise, can decrease your chance of a nutrition-based illness.
We provide assistance to ~8,500 food insecure citizens a month. Our Health Initiative is only one of the many approaches we are taking to improve lives through food assistance programs, nutrition education, and advocacy.