Feeding America Member Food Banks Partner with Anthem Foundation to Launch 'Food is Medicine' Program

Grant will fund a new program, which uses the healthcare setting to help address food insecurity, build food bank and clinic partnerships with the goal of improving patient health outcomes

June 25, 2019

Today, Feeding America®, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, announced a $1 million grant from the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., to launch the ‘Food is Medicine’ program at Feeding America member food banks. 

The grant will fund a year-long program at seven food banks as they partner with hospital outpatient clinics to support clinic staff with the implementation of processes and procedures to conduct universal food insecurity screenings and interventions. The effort will help connect people facing hunger to food distribution programs to ensure they have access to healthy food options. The program aims to screen between 3,000 and 4,000 patients in the course of a year at each location where the ‘Food is Medicine’ program is in place.

Participating food banks and hospitals include the following: 
•    Atlanta Community Food Bank and Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia 
•    Dare to Care Food Bank and local healthcare provider, Louisville, Kentucky
•    Feed More and VCU Health System, Richmond, Virginia
•    Freestore Foodbank and UC Health, Cincinnati, Ohio
•    Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and Eskenazi Health, Indianapolis, Indiana
•    Houston Food Bank and Harris Health System, Houston, Texas 
•    Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and Nashville General Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee 

Feeding America member food banks will also support individuals facing hunger by assessing their eligibility for federal nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, to help provide them with long-term access to nutritious food. The food banks will offer nutrition education programming to further increase participants’ capacity to adopt healthy food choices and habits.  

“The ‘Food is Medicine’ program highlights the critical role that food banks can play in ensuring everyone has access to the nutritious food they need to stay healthy. By supporting families with consistent access to healthy food, we believe that food insecurity screening and interventions allow patients to better manage their health,” said Hilary Seligman, MD, senior medical advisor at Feeding America. “We are thankful to the Anthem Foundation for its partnership, which will help Feeding America partner with healthcare providers to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable in our communities.” 

“Food insecurity is a pressing issue facing our communities, one that impacts the health and well-being of many – particularly those with chronic health conditions,” said Stephen Friedhoff, MD, chief clinical officer at Anthem.  “Anthem Foundation’s partnership with Feeding America is critical in addressing this issue as we work to improve lives and communities. Through this unique program, we’ll help remove barriers and create better access to food distribution in a healthcare setting, and in doing so, we’ll work to ensure individuals facing illness or chronic conditions have access to healthy and nutritious food.” 

Hunger impacts people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. In the United States, it is estimated almost 12 percent of all households were food insecure at some point during a given year.1 The consequences of food insecurity are strongly associated with poor nutrition and are linked to negative impacts on health for people across their lifespan.

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, 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.



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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About Anthem Foundation

The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.