Nashville food bank receives $60K to expand ‘Food is Medicine’ program

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Nashville food bank is receiving $60,000 in grant money from the Amerigroup Foundation to expand their “Food is Medicine” program.

The program at Second Harvest Food Bank is aimed at supporting health care staff with the Nashville General Hospital Foundation as they conduct universal food insecurity screenings and interventions.

Food is Medicine seeks to screen between 20,000 and 30,000 hospital and clinic patients in order to improve food security. It is said to help connect nearly 1,500 people facing hunger in the Nashville area to food distribution programs.

“When our neighbors are unable to afford healthy foods, their health suffers,” said Caroline Pullen, Senior Manager, Nutrition & Innovation at Second Harvest.

Nashville General Hospital patients that are screened and are found to be food insecure will be referred to the Second Harvest Food Bank’s “Food Pharmacy,” where patients will receive free, healthy foods and various resources including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“The Food is Medicine program addresses essential nutritional needs with the provision of nutrient-dense foods and fresh produce, coupled with increased education about choice,” said Vernon Rose, Executive Director, Nashville General Hospital Foundation.

The pandemic also contributed to the issue of food insecurity. The Bellevue Community Food Bank told News 2 that they served twice as many people in 2020 as they did in 2019 and Nourish Food Bank in Smyrna more than doubled their services.

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