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The Food Bank Receives $450,000 from Healthy Blue’s Affiliated Foundation to Continue ‘Food is Medicine’ Program

Wednesday October 18, 2023

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank announced that it has been awarded a $450,000 grant from Healthy Blue Louisiana’s affiliated Foundation to continue and expand the ‘Food is Medicine’ program. This landmark funding will amplify collaborative efforts between Healthy Blue, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and the partnering healthcare providers who screen patients for food insecurity during care visits and connect them with Food Bank resources.

“Roughly 1 in every 7 people across our state do not have access to healthy meals, and these include children, pregnant people, frail seniors, individuals trying to manage life-threatening disease and other vulnerable residents who need our help,” said Dr. Christy Valentine Theard, President of Healthy Blue Louisiana. “Healthy Blue has stayed committed to helping vulnerable Louisianans to overcome disparities and equitably achieve better health outcomes through innovative and effective solutions. This includes the proven ‘Food is Medicine’ program led by the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and our valued healthcare provider partners. We are proud to have secured Foundation funding that will extend and expand this program to help so many more Louisianans as they navigate their journeys to better health and lives.”

The ‘Food is Medicine’ program, a Feeding America® initiative funded by Healthy Blue’s affiliated  Foundation, was launched in 2021 to improve health outcomes by creating easy access to fresh, nutritious foods that are often unattainable or unaffordable by vulnerable Louisianans. The program works in partnership with hospitals, clinics and health facilities that identify patients who are facing food insecurity. Healthcare providers keep healthy food boxes onsite and provide them to patients identified as food insecure. The food boxes come with education and information on how to continue accessing resources from the food bank. Over the past couple of years, this program has supported hundreds of patients and has dramatically improved lives.

“Continuing the ‘Food is Medicine’ program will give us the ability to reach more individuals that are food insecure,” said Mike Manning, President, and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “The introduction of the ‘Food is Medicine’ program into our 11-parish service area has expanded our reach to approximately 400 more individuals monthly, and we are eager to continue the program’s expansion with support from Healthy Blue and its affiliated Foundation.”

New funding will allow more healthcare partners to screen and refer hundreds of more patients into the program over the next three years. This next phase of the program will also help the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and Healthy Blue’s affiliated Foundation to implement enhanced data collection, sharing and analysis to better understand the needs of people facing hunger and deliver effective solutions.

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, a member of the Feeding America network, is one of 21 food banks to receive this funding from Healthy Blue’s affiliated Foundation. The Foundation has committed $30 million to support programs nationwide that address food insecurity by helping people reach optimal health through good nutrition. As of January 2023, more than $23 million in Food is Medicine grants have been awarded across the country to improve health outcomes and lives.

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