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Press Release: Partnership for a Healthier America Welcomes Four New Healthy Hunger Relief Partners

PHA’s Healthy Hunger Relief initiative now reaches more than 5 million Americans – working to introduce 66 million pounds of healthy food into the emergency food system, while removing 12 million pounds of low nutrition food.

Washington, DC - August 31, 2020 - The Partnership for a Healthier America today welcomed four new food bank partners to its Healthy Hunger Relief initiative. Since 2016, the Partnership for a Healthier America has recognized, elevated, and accelerated the work of food banks and large-scale food pantries across the country that are uplifting the health and well-being of their communities. In 2019, PHA responded to feedback from partners around the importance of technology and organization-focused evaluation and expanded its food bank partnerships to an even broader focus on systems change. PHA’s Healthy Hunger Relief partners play a critical role in ensuring that communities and families have access to healthier, nutritious foods at times when they might otherwise go without.

“PHA’s food bank partnerships serve as the foundation of our mission to transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity,” said Nancy E. Roman, President & CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America. “COVID-19 has placed an unprecedented strain on the charitable food system. I’m deeply grateful to and inspired by our new food bank partners who have chosen to join PHA’s healthy hunger relief efforts amidst these especially challenging times.”

Commitments made:

The Food Group has committed to PHA to decrease the amount of low nutrition food and beverage items they distribute by 10%, develop and apply nutrition guidelines for all non-USDA programs serving children and their families, actively promote the consumption of nutritious foods, build a culture of health and wellness for their staff, and implement a system that will allow them to evaluate the nutritional quality of their food.

Feeding Southwest Virginia has committed to PHA to decrease the amount of low nutrition food and beverage items they offer by 10%, develop and apply nutrition guidelines for all non-USDA programs serving children and their families, incentivize at least 10% of the agencies that procure their foods to select more nutritious options, ratify an organizational wellness policy for staff, and implement a system that will allow them to evaluate the nutritional quality of their food.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin has committed to PHA to increase by 25% the amount of nutritious foods and decrease by 10% the amount of low nutrition foods they distribute, actively promote the consumption of nutritious foods by developing resources and creating “wellness nudges,” and recruit a nutrition expert to help guide organizational decision making.

The Maryland Food Bank has committed to PHA to increase by 25% the amount of nutritious foods and decrease by 10% the amount of low nutrition foods they distribute, develop resources that promote the consumption of healthier foods, recruit a nutrition expert to help guide organizational decision making, and implement a system that will allow them to evaluate the nutritional quality of their food.

“At The Food Group, we use nutritious food to strengthen our community,” said Sophia Lenarz-Coy, Executive Director of The Food Group. “To do this, we think about health broadly. We care deeply about the nutritional quality and cultural relevance of the food we distribute. We care deeply about building a food system that supports local farmers. And we care deeply that everyone receives the good food they need with dignity.”

“As a hunger-relief organization, it’s important that we not only provide food to the communities we serve, but that we also provide healthy food that allows for a well-balanced diet. We are excited to join the Partnership for a Healthier America in their mission,” said Patti Habeck, President of Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. “We are showing a commitment to the health of our communities by increasing our distribution of healthy foods and reducing the amount of unhealthy foods that come through our food bank.”

“At the Maryland Food Bank, we know nutritious food is the foundation of a healthy, productive life. That’s why this new alliance with Partnership for a Healthier America is very exciting to us,” said Carmen Del Guercio, President & CEO of the Maryland Food Bank. “Not only will we have the opportunity to work with other organizations committed to nourishing local communities through healthy foods, but we’ll have access to valuable tools that can expand and improve our nutrition education efforts. By providing good food and helpful resources to our hungry neighbors, we can lay the foundation for true pathways out of hunger and build a stronger community for all.”

“Feeding SWVA is excited to partner with PHA for the opportunity to learn what other food banks are doing to improve the nutrition and health of their clients, specifically, food resource poor food banks. This partnership will provide the necessary tools to develop and implement a formal nutrition policy that will better serve our partner programs and those children and individuals directly fed through FSWVA programs,” said Pamela Irvine, President & CEO of Feeding Southwest Virginia.

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PHA’s mission is to leverage the power of the private sector to transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA identifies, accelerates, and celebrates voluntary business practices that improve or increase choice or lead to new norms and behavior around food and physical activity. For more information about PHA, please visit www.ahealthieramerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.

The Food Group is a local nonprofit focused on using nutritious food to strengthen community. We work at the intersection of food access, equity, and nutrition issues related to food and hunger in 32 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Our programs include food shelf and meal program support, healthy and affordable grocery sales programs, and a farmer education program for farmers historically underrepresented in farm ownership learning to operate organic farm businesses. We believe nutritious food strengthens our community by creating better health outcomes and providing the foundation needed to thrive.

Feeding Southwest Virginia was founded in 1981 and proudly commemorates 39 years of fighting hunger and changing lives through community partnerships. The Food Bank is an affiliate member of Feeding America. For the four decades, the Food Bank’s ultimate mission has remained the same: eliminate hunger in the region. The primary function of the Food Bank is to secure and distribute large quantities of nutritious food for the hungry. Approximately $33 million worth of food and grocery related products are channeled annually through a network of more than 350 partner feeding programs in our 26-county, 9-city region that provide food or meals to those in need. Visit www.FeedingSWVA.org for more information or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/feedingswva.

The Maryland Food Bank is a nonprofit hunger-relief organization dedicated to feeding people, strengthening communities, and ending hunger for more Marylanders by partnering with local organizations from the state’s western mountains to the Eastern Shore. Last year, the food bank’s statewide network of food assistance brought enough resources together to provide the equivalent of 110,000 meals every day (over 40 million meals annually) to hungry children, seniors, veterans, and hard-working families, meeting the immediate needs of hungry Marylanders while simultaneously working to create pathways out of hunger. To learn more about the Maryland Food Bank, visit www.mdfoodbank.org.

Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is the largest hunger-relief organization in the state of Wisconsin, with locations in Milwaukee and Appleton. Founded in 1982 by the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin is a local and independent member of the Feeding America network. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin collaborates with nearly 400 food pantries, meal programs, and shelters to provide more than 25 million meals annually to nearly 400,000 people across 35 counties in eastern Wisconsin. Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin also supports programs that improve food security for people facing hunger and works collaboratively with community partners to solve hunger. To learn more about hunger in Wisconsin, visit www.FeedingAmericaWI.org.

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