Beyond Food: Additional Support and Resources Food Banks Provide

Beyond Food: Additional Support and Resources Food Banks Provide

Food banks and pantries are widely known for their crucial role in providing sustenance to individuals and families facing food insecurity. Many may not be aware that food banks also positively impact their communities by offering several programs supporting holistic well-being in the neighborhoods they serve.

Most programs are food-related, but organizations like Feeding Northeast Florida also offer crucial services like basic medical care and hygiene supplies. In this blog, we will unveil some of the additional layers of community support food banks provide.

Assistance Applying For Federal Programs

If you are facing food insecurity, you are likely eligible for federal programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and Medicaid.

SNAP offers food and cash assistance for individuals and families who qualify. Most grocery stores, dollar stores, and many convenience stores accept SNAP payments for approved items. Assistance comes on a card you can swipe at the register just as you would for any regular transaction.

Medicaid assists with medical needs. Many healthcare providers participate in the Medicaid program, so you typically get convenient access to care. Most plans include low or no-cost copay and prescription coverage.

The benefits of these programs are great, but the application process can be overwhelming. Feeding Northeast Florida has specialists to help you. Use this page to find out if you are eligible and learn how to contact our team for application assistance.

Transportation, Food Deliveries, and Mobile Pantries

Arranging food pantries and distributions in neighborhoods with the greatest need is a top priority. Some residents facing food insecurity, particularly senior citizens, have additional challenges related to transportation or physical limitations. 

Food banks like Feeding Northeast Florida have programs in place to provide additional assistance for these cases. Some programs work to arrange transportation to and from distribution sites. Food can also be delivered in some instances. Additionally, food banks and pantries often coordinate with senior centers and communities to provide client-choice pantries on-site regularly. These special distributions focus on the dietary needs of these clients, including low-sodium and whole wheat products.

The area Feeding Northeast Florida serves is large, and the number of individuals and families facing food insecurity continues to grow. Finding a suitable location for a standard food pantry is not always possible. Feeding Northeast Florida deploys mobile pantries in these cases to battle food insecurity at the street level.

Known as Corner Markets, we stock these 40’ trailers with 70% fresh produce, lean proteins, dairy, and whole-grain products. Clients can enter and select items they will use from a Corner Market just as they would at a static pantry.

Prescriptive Nutrition

Food banks and pantries exist to ensure that everyone has consistent, reliable access to nutritious, high-quality foods that support healthy bodies and minds.

Neighborhoods with food access challenges often face similar challenges in accessing healthcare. Feeding Northeast Florida has a Prescriptive Nutrition Program that bridges this gap. 

Supported by our Corner Markets, Feeding Northeast Florida partners with Federally Qualified Health Clinics and Free and Charitable Clinics to serve patients in need that healthcare providers refer to us.

Participants in the program meet individually with nursing students and dieticians to discuss their needs and learn how to select proper foods from the Corner Market to address them. This individual approach improves health and delivers better outcomes for people battling long-term illnesses. 

Personal Care and Household Goods 

In addition to food, Feeding Northeast Florida often has hygiene products and household goods available at our pantries. 

We provide organizations hosting food drives with a list of acceptable donation items, including disposable household items like paper towels, paper plates, baby diapers, and wipes. The list also includes personal care items like toiletries, OTC medications, and adult incontinence products. Some groups host drives specifically for these types of items.

Feeding Northeast Florida merged with Renewing Dignity, an organization focused on ensuring everyone who needs period supplies has access to them. Through this partnership, we can offer these items for free at many of our pantry locations while supplies last.

Food banks and pantries will always aim to ensure that individuals and families facing food insecurity have reliable, consistent access to healthy, high-quality food. However, our presence in the community enables us to do even more.

Our mission is to support our neighbors. Providing transportation, health services, household products, and hygiene supplies aligns perfectly with this mission. Feeding Northeast Florida is proud to be an active community resource, and we are committed to continually seeking opportunities to find new and innovative ways to serve.

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