CROWN POINT — The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital has opened a new food pantry in its Crown Point Health Center.
CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE
The goal of the project, started with support from the Essex County Health Department and Well Fed Collaborative, is to make healthier food options available at no cost to those in need.
The pantry will serve patients and community members Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pantry staples include soup, oatmeal, whole grain cereal and pasta, frozen meat, and peanut butter.
Health center staff and volunteers will be on hand to provide orientation and sign-up materials to new customers.
“Expanding access to healthy food is so important,” Essex County Health Department Chronic Disease Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth Terry said.
“Over 30 percent of Essex County residents are individuals and families with an income above the federal poverty level, but below a sustainable wage. They make just enough to miss out on nutrition benefit programs but don’t make enough to purchase healthy foods.”
Grant funding through the Well Fed Collaborative supported the purchase of healthy food items and pantry equipment such as shelving, freezers, a refrigerator, and office supplies.
The Salvation Army also donated $1,000 for the purchase of food items, cleaning supplies, and personal and oral hygiene products.
The UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital will expand the program to include a small food pantry at its Au Sable Forks Health Center and will make pantry items available upon request to its Ticonderoga Campus, Elizabethtown Community Health Center, High Peaks Health Center, Smith House Health Center, or Westport Health Center.
“The availability of fresh, nutritious food is limited in Crown Point,” pointed out Julie Tromblee, vice president and chief nursing officer at the UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital.
“The nearest grocery store is too far for those without transportation and that creates a reliance on convenience stores for day-to-day food shopping. Our partnership with Essex County and the Well Fed Collaborative has allowed us to get this pilot program off the ground and reach those in need.”
ACCESS FOR ALL
Terry said, “The goal of the Well Fed Collaborative is to improve health outcomes and reduce health care utilization by improving access to healthy food and increasing food security for all Essex County residents.”
She added, “We are partnering with local health care organizations on a range of projects to help achieve that goal. The “Farmacy” project; Wellness Rx provider prescription project; Healthy Pantry Conversion project; WIC & Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Navigation project; and the Better Choice Retailer program.”
HOW TO HELP
Donations for the food pantry project may be made at any of the UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital health centers.
For more information, please call 518-873-3125.