Striving to Meet the Challenges of Food Insecurity
As part of its commitment to the communities it serves, North Memorial Health collaborates with several organizations to increase food security and access to healthy foods. North Minneapolis, in particular, has faced worsened food insecurity and food access challenges due to the pandemic and the recent loss of many neighborhood grocery stores.
To help meet these challenges, North Memorial Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota have partnered to create a new Food as Medicine program. North Memorial Health Clinic care coordinators identify vulnerable community members who have chronic health conditions and are at higher risk for COVID-19 to provide personalized grocery packages and wellness assessment. As part of this pilot program North Memorial Health community paramedics deliver the nutritious food packages and assess participants’ safety and wellness during weekly visits. North Market – a partnership with Pillsbury United Communities serves as a full-service grocery store with a North Memorial Health wellness resource center inside – is also helping with implementation of the Food as Medicine program, making this a truly collaborative community venture.
The new Food as Medicine program is just one example of North Memorial Health’s longstanding commitment to reducing the impacts of food insecurity and helping to address the social determinants of health. The organization is an anchor partner for several innovative programs such as North Market, which opened in 2017 to offer affordable, healthy food and wellness resources to North Minneapolis residents. North Memorial Health was recently recognized by Second Harvest Heartland for introducing an innovative, sustainable approach to hunger relief through their clinics, and is partnering with Community Emergency Assistance Programs (CEAP) and MATTER to deliver MATTERBox meal kits to community residents in need. As with the Food as Medicine program, North Memorial Health responders also provide in-home wellness checks when needed.