Working Together for Healthy Communities
At The Idaho Foodbank, one of our core values is collaboration. By collaborating with our statewide network of food distribution partners, as well as health care providers, schools, and other organizations we can provide critical nutrition and build healthy communities throughout the state. Access to nutritious food is part of a healthy community and in our last fiscal year 86% of the food we distributed was considered nutritious.
In addition to making nutritious food available for our neighbors in need, we also strive to make it easier for people to find information about services that are available when they are struggling. Co-location of services is one example of this. When our Lewiston food pantry is open, representatives from CHAS Health have been there to help those in need of food also sign up for health care appointments. CHAS Health is a non-profit community health center that provides high quality healthcare services to families and individuals of all ages, regardless of ability to pay. CHAS Health also has staff that help patients navigate the different challenges of juggling health care needs and that can include referring food insecure patients to a local food pantry.
When looking at the health of individuals and communities, dental health is one piece of the puzzle that can be overlooked. We have continued to work with Delta Dental to make dental health kits, including toothbrushes and floss, available for our food distribution partners to make available at their pantries. Our partners in Wendell have been doing additional outreach to help their food insecure neighbors find information about dental health care. One woman in need of food shared with us how the reduced cost dental care she received at CHAS Health helped to relieve her significant tooth pain and a significant financial burden. During National Children’s Dental Health Month, we are sharing information on our social media pages about where families can find free dental care for their children if they are uninsured.
Building healthy communities sounds like a monumental task. No one can do it alone, but if we work together, we can improve the health of communities across Idaho.