CSBG Spotlight: Collaborative Access to Healthy Food Choices

— Edited by Rae Tamblyn, Research Assistant, CSBG —

It’s the start of a new year and we are newly resolved to make lifestyle changes. For many of us, this is a resolution to eat healthy. We all know how hard resolutions are to keep. It’s even more difficult to eat healthy when there is limited access to healthy food choices. New Jersey’s Hoboken Organization Against Poverty and Economic Stress (HOPES) Community Action Agency recognized that the low-income Americans receiving their services were often making nutritional sacrifices and unhealthy food choices due to price increases and a county-wide unemployment rate of more than 10%. When the local food wholesaler closed its doors, HOPES used Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds to faciliate a new partnership with another discount food distributor, SHARES Food Program, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The new partnership enabled HOPES to expand its Low Cost Food Program. In the last year, 70 individuals participated in the Low Cost Food Programand a total of 148 food parcels were purchased. HOPES staff distribute monthly menus in English and Spanish, assist clients with placing food orders online, facilitate food stamp use, store and refrigerate food items to be picked up by individuals who have placed orders, and deliver parcels to the homebound and elderly.

In addition to the new food distribution partner, HOPES has partnered with the PNC Foundation to incorporate a nutritional component to the Low Cost Food Program, which included free workshops, seminars, and nutritional literature focusing on wellness topics such as Meal Planning on a Budget; Weight Loss; Family Fitness; Cholesterol, Blood Pressure & Sugar Management; and Healthy Grocery Shopping.

Source: FY 2011 CSBG IS Survey