In 2021, FAST Blackfeet will begin a new Food Pharmacy Program in the Blackfeet Nation. It will expand on the food distribution success of the O´yo´•0´ Food Pantry. Participants will get specialized food from the pantry that is healthy for people at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. They also will get needed information on cooking, shopping and eating. Participants referred to the program will get individual nutrition counseling from a registered dietitian, along with group cooking and nutrition classes. Vouchers to purchase fresh produce will be given to those who work with the dietitian.
FAST Blackfeet expects this program to increase food access and healthy behaviors in the Blackfeet Nation. FAST is grateful to Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry for this opportunity to work towards improving health outcomes in the Blackfeet Nation.
The $200,000 in project funding comes from No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America. As part of its ongoing COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, No Kid Hungry has invested $800,000 in four rural partnerships designed to increase access to healthy food for adults with children whose homes have high rates of food insecurity. FAST Blackfeet is grateful to be one of the partners chosen.
These partners are using a community-centered approach to give people food through fresh produce RX and voucher programs when referred by local health clinics. The group will share best practices to propel each other to stronger, more effective models.
“The ultimate goal of this learning community is to provide tested clinical-community food access interventions that can be leveraged in other rural areas to address food needs of families before hunger becomes a crisis,” explained Share Our Strength’s Kelleen Zubick, Director of Health Strategies.
FAST Blackfeet is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is a “healthy, strong and food secure Blackfeet Nation.” As part of this learning community supported by No Kid Hungry, the organization will have a resource to explore solutions to food systems issues being faced in the Blackfeet community.
FAST Blackfeet is also grateful to the Montana No Kid Hungry organization for assistance in applying for this grant.