“It’s a non-intimidating way to get yourself screened for potential health risks,” said Kristen Vannoy, a client of Hays County Food Bank.
Hays County Food Bank celebrated National Nutrition Month this March with their second annual Health Initiative.
The food bank increased nutrition awareness among food insecure individuals by offering educational opportunities and health screenings at distributions throughout the county. Each week, clients received different resources.
For example, Nurse Carrie from Methodist Healthcare Ministries provided blood pressure and blood sugar screenings and representatives from WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and Community Action distributed information about the services they offer.
“It’s a non-intimidating way to get yourself screened for potential health risks,” said Kristen Vannoy, a client of Hays County Food Bank. “I brought my daughter with me and saw the WIC table, and she was able to come in and get some more information that she was afraid to do prior.” Extra food for infants and formula are just one of the many resources that WIC provides.
Food bank staff and volunteers also gave presentations. They warned clients that too much salt or sugar can lead to diabetes, obesity, and/or hypertension.
They also offered advice on portion control, demonstrating that each time you fill your plate, at least half of it should contain fruits/vegetables, a quarter should be a lean protein, and the other quarter should include whole grains.
A healthy diet, along with steady exercise, can decrease your chance of a nutrition-based illness.
Hays County Food Bank provides assistance to ~8,500 food insecure citizens a month. The Health Initiative is only one of the many approaches they are taking to improve lives through food assistance programs, nutrition education, and advocacy.
In 2016, Hays County Food Bank and its 20+ partner agencies distributed 679,456 pounds of food to an average of 8,500 food insecure residents each month. These residents were senior citizens, children, and many others facing economic challenges. “Food insecurity” refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it.
Hays County Food Bank is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit haysfoodbank.org or visit us on Facebook or Twitter at @HaysFoodBank.