Battling Food Insecurity

How UnitedHealthcare is partnering on issues important to North Carolina: Battling Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is a reality for many North Carolinians, and is especially concerning for children, seniors and individuals with disabilities. UnitedHealthcare is working with community leaders, physicians and social service providers to help identify the causes of food insecurity, as well as address prevalent health issues related to lack of access to food and nutrition education.

As a result of a community brainstorming session, UnitedHealthcare identified three opportunities to partner with community organizations to immediately address food insecurity. Through the UnitedHealthcare Community Grants program, grant funds were provided to Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), MANNA FoodBank, and Second Harvest Food Bank.

Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC)
Funds from this grant are being used to help more than 150 low-income individuals in Nash and Edgecombe counties who have diabetes or other chronic diseases. OIC is providing a series of weekly nutrition education classes, access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods, and intensive case management services for these individuals. 

The program aims to: 

  • Increase knowledge about healthy eating/nutrition.
  • Improve participants’ ability to self-manage their condition by empowering them to make informed choices and providing them access to needed resources like healthy foods.
  • Improve A1C levels of participants with diabetes, demonstrating the positive impact of health education and access to healthy food.

MANNA FoodBank

The grant to MANNA FoodBank is dedicated to expanding the organization’s MANNA Express program. This program is an innovative “just-in-time” distribution system that uses volunteer drivers to deliver fresh, perishable foods like produce, dairy and fresh/frozen meats to hunger relief agencies in 16 counties of Western North Carolina. 

As a result of the grant, MANNA will be able to:

  • Serve an additional 118-180 individuals each week.
  • Distribute 2500 pounds of nutritious food each week.
  • Improve food choices including an increase in healthy & fresh food items.

Second Harvest Food Bank

This grant allows Second Harvest Food Bank to provide healthy food boxes and education classes to individuals who are food insecure and struggling with a chronic health condition. Second Harvest is partnering with Downtown Health Plaza and Ashe Memorial Hospital (AMH) to:

  • Provide 1700 customized, healthy meal boxes and a referral for continued food assistance, nutrition education and smart shopping classes. 
  • Decrease hospital readmission for the participants by enabling patients to better manage their conditions through improved knowledge and access to the tools needed to maintain health.

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