Communities on the Move!
Resources and Success Stories
Faith-based and neighborhood organizations have led the way on improving the health and wellness of the communities they serve for decades. Through Let’s Move Faith and Communities, we hope to advance and better resource the good work you are already doing around the country. Our website offers resources, community practices, curricula and other ideas that we hope will help your community make healthy choices the easy choices! You’ll also find helpful links to federal resources that can help guide your work. Resources and community practices are organized below under the headings Wellness Leadership, Healthy Eating, Access to Healthy, Affordable Food, and Physical Activity.
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Bread for the City’s Food Pantry Ensures Access to Nutritious, Affordable Food
At the heart of the issue of childhood obesity is a paradox: while one in three American children is overweight or obese, over 16 million children continue to live in food-insecure households where putting food on the table, let alone healthy food, is a daily struggle. Bread for the City’s food pantry, the largest in Washington, DC, has completely transformed its food delivery model to include healthy fare through an innovative combination of urban agriculture, gleaning and free farmers markets. The organization provides a great model for how other food pantries and programs can address hunger while also providing healthy, nourishing food for its clients.
Bread for the City serves 31,609 low-income District of Columbia residents through its medical and legal clinics, as well as its social services program. The organization is well aware that its food pantry may be the only source of healthy foods for the over 9,000 people per month who rely on its offerings – and it is committed to delivering it! At Bread for the City, food pantry “bushels” of ramen noodles and other instant foods have been replaced by lean meats, whole grains and fresh produce, as well as the one-on-one nutritional and culinary guidance to go with it.
The organization focuses on the District’s most vulnerable populations: the elderly, the disabled, and families with children, all with annual house incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. Its programs include:
Glean for the City: Weekly volunteer excursions to local farmers markets (and the occasional farm itself) to collect fresh produce (apples, corn, squash, etc.) that would otherwise go to waste. This season, Bread for the City collected an average of 2,000 lbs. of produce each week. Since Glean for the City’s inception in July 2009, over 172,000 lbs. of free fresh produce has been collected and distributed through the organization’s food pantry locations.
City Orchard: In 2011, Bread for the City finalized a grant with the University of the District of Columbia to grow an orchard on a 2.75 acre plot of land in nearby Beltsville, MD. With this new resource, called City Orchard, it anticipates it will be able to provide clients with hundreds of tons of fresh fruit (including apples, Asian pears, blueberries, and more).
Rooftop Garden: Within city limits, Bread for the City cultivates the largest rooftop garden in the DC-metro area. The 3,500 square-foot garden in Northwest DC provides space for workshops focused on gardening and nutrition. A second rooftop garden is in the works at the organization’s Southeast Center. Beyond serving as a sustainable produce supply for the city’s poor, City Orchard and the Rooftop Garden provide an invaluable resource for conducting field trips and engaging clients on topics such as nutrition, growing produce, and urban gardening.
Free Farmers Markets: Through a grant from the Capital Area Food Bank, Bread for the City’s Food Program runs a seasonal Free Farmers Market where it distributes thousands of pounds of free produce. In addition, at each market it provides healthy food samples, helps eligible clients apply for SNAP and WIC benefits, gives cooking demonstrations, and hosts arts and crafts activities like face-painting.
Bread for the City and its programming is a shining example of how food pantries, non-profit groups, and communities can work together to encourage healthy choices and ensure access to nutritious, affordable food.
If you would like to learn about addressing the health and nutritional needs within a food pantry, please sign up for the next Let’s Move Faith and Communities webinar to “Transform Your Food Pantry into a Source of Health and Wellness,” on January 31st at 2:00pm ET.