At Inspira, we’re invested in the health and habits of our local community. By analyzing data from across our unique patient populations, we’re able to provide resources that address food insecurity and promote proper nutrition.
Our Approach to Food Insecurity
Food insecurity is a common problem across South Jersey and the greater United States. Defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture [link: usda.gov] as a lack of consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active life, food insecurity can lead to serious health consequences.
Inspira’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) indicates that the food environment in many residents’ local communities makes it difficult to eat a healthy diet. Focus groups conducted as part of the assessment found community members must often travel long distances to grocery stores compared to other places in the country. Fast food and convenience stores, however, are in large supply. Issues such as poverty and lack of transportation also make it difficult to purchase fresh meals and unprocessed foods. Increasing access to healthy fare is essential to fighting hunger and resolving related health complications, such as diabetes and obesity.
Resources to Fight Food Insecurity in Our Communities
To combat food insecurity in our communities, Inspira is committed to providing nutrition education, tools and resources for residents and families. One way we accomplish this is through partnerships with local school districts. Inspira partners with the following organizations to provide monthly school-based food pantries:
- Community FoodBank of New Jersey
- Food Bank of South Jersey
- Casimer Dallago Early Childhood Center in Vineland
- Millville Child Family Center
- Woodbury Junior-Senior High School
The goal is to provide families at those schools who are food insecure with a month's worth of nutritious meals.
We also work with schools to promote wellness and teach fun ways for students to add physical activity to their daily routines.
Through the Community Health Needs Assessment, access to healthy foods has been identified as a major challenge for thousands of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem County residents. To truly improve the lives and enhance the health of our patients, neighbors and community members, Inspira has teamed up with the Food Bank of South Jersey and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey to open food farmacies at its health centers in Bridgeton and Woodbury.
Inspira staff will identify patients who face food insecurity and connect them with one of the two food farmacies. Patients will meet with an Inspira registered dietitian and receive nutritious food that is appropriate for any medical conditions they might have. The dietician will work directly with each patient to discuss health and nutrition and provide food for the patient for up to one year. Nutrition education and counseling are an integral component of the food farmacies and they help residents develop healthy eating habits.
Call (856) 641-6600 for more information.