Teaming up for holiday hunger relief

Illustration of a Hand Holding a Fork and Knife Beside an Empty Plate Sitting on American Dollars
Illustrated by Sarah Grillo/Axios

A nonprofit is working with healthcare providers, insurers, and community-based organizations to give food-scarce American families a break this holiday season.

News promotion: The nonprofit About Fresh provides financial relief to thousands of Americans in need through its prepaid debit card program. This is his net new safety as rising food costs and extreme winter weather conditions are exacerbating a national hunger crisis.

Big picture: According to Josh Trautwein, CEO and c0-founder of About Fresh, food is a significant vacation expense.

  • “We often think about the erosion of our culture and heritage caused by food insecurity, and we feel it most acutely during the holidays,” says Troutwain.
  • “You’re not having family dinners, you’re definitely not cooking, you’re definitely not having dinner with your neighbors, if you’re food insecure, you’re probably inviting people over for the holidays.” You won’t be able to afford it.”

Usage: In 2018, About Fresh launched Fresh Connect. This is a produce prescription program that provides scholarships through prepaid debit cards for participants to purchase fresh produce at local grocery stores.

  • Recently, 3,250 people in Massachusetts, Oregon, West Virginia, and DC signed up for Fresh Connect, with more than $200,000 in approved transactions each month.
  • The program’s healthcare, insurance, and community-based partners determine who is eligible and how much is allocated each month. Typically between $50 and $200 per cardholder.
  • Among these partners is the Boston Medical Center, funded by USDA NIFA, to conduct research into the effectiveness of Fresh Connect in addressing food insecurity in low-income families with young children during the pandemic. increase.

Yes, but: To enroll, you must go through a participating organization affiliated with the program, such as a healthcare provider.

  • As of the first quarter of 2022, about 26 million Americans, or 8% of the country, had no health insurance, according to an HHS report.

What they say: “Our health care system is primarily intended to care for people only after they are sick,” says Trautwein. It’s about making sure people have access to healthy food so they don’t get sick.”

Zoom out: Food banks, a major resource for food-insecure people, typically see increased demand during the holidays.

To the point: “Our ability to increase the purchasing power of healthy foods for the household communities we serve experiencing food insecurity will have cascading economic impacts on our ability to pay for the rest of our vacation. ,” Trautwein told Axios.

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