Community Partner Visit - San Antonio Food Bank and HOPE

Walter D. Woods, CEO of The Humana Foundation, is visiting each Strategic Community Investment Program (SCIP) partnering organization in 2020. Here are some of his thoughts about his recent visit to San Antonio and the San Antonio Food Bank, an organization that serves 58,000 individuals per week in 16 San Antonio counties.

 

San Antonio is Humana’s oldest Bold Goal community, a place where Humana and The Humana Foundation are working to improve health 20 percent by 2020 and beyond. And, it is also a community in which The Humana Foundation has two Strategic Community Investments, funding and creating partnerships with local organizations to address social determinants of health.

The Humana Foundation partnered with the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB) in 2018, funding its Healthy Options for the Elderly (HOPE) program, addressing food security and social connectedness. HOPE assists San Antonio’s most vulnerable seniors who screen positive for food insecurity and social isolation, providing them with comprehensive services that stabilize their household and address prevalent health issues. Our investment with the San Antonio Food Bank is testing the idea that social connections and food security can be positively impacted when food banks deeply and personally engage with seniors, helping them set and achieve goals.

The SAFB recently received a continuing Humana Foundation investment for the HOPE program, achieving specific and measurable results in its first year. To benchmark progress, the SAFB measures how many seniors in the HOPE program set and achieve a goal related to improving their social connections and nutrition.

In 2018, 475 seniors in the HOPE program achieved increased food security and a greater sense of social connection. Healthcare providers across San Antonio are now intentionally screening patients for social connection and food security, linking those patients in need with the SAFB.

The first year results of the HOPE program are very promising. We’re learning that our hypothesis is correct – social connections and food security improve when food banks work seniors, helping them set and achieve specific nutritional and social goals and connect them to vital resources like healthy food.

Lucy, a HOPE participant who loves to read and walk, is a great example of the work SAFB is undertaking with San Antonio seniors. One of Lucy’s favorite places to walk in San Antonio is Hemisphere Park. She takes her dog Bella with her, and they both love to look at the chickens in the park. Lucy came to the SAFB seeking food assistance to help offset the expense of her apartment. She also has household items that she needs to buy, and all those expenses add up.

“I now have more insight into eating and cooking healthy based on the food I receive from the San Antonio Food Bank program. Bella has also been benefiting from the food assistance because she gets to indulge in some vegetables.”  – Lucy, San Antonio Food Bank HOPE participant

To achieve greater food security and social connections, the SAFB is partnering with local organizations, including many local food pantries, healthcare providers, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, and numerous other community-based organizations that provide resources to seniors.

As The Humana Foundation continues to deepen our relationship with the SAFB and our joint work in San Antonio, I look forward to hearing more stories like Lucy’s.

 

We know health is local. Creating change and greater health equity takes time, a deep understanding of the community, and strong relationships between partnering organizations. That’s why The Humana Foundation’s Strategic Community Investment Program (SCIP) partners with local organizations for up to three years, depending on specific, measurable results, to address social determinants of health in eight of Humana’s Bold Goal communities, places where Humana and The Humana Foundation are working to improve health 20 percent by 2020 and beyond. Visit the SCIP page on HumanaFoundation.org for more information on our investments and partners.

The San Antonio Food Bank and The Humana Foundation are working together to address food security in San Antonio

(Left-to-right): Walter Woods, CEO of The Humana Foundation; Kristin Cuellar, San Antonio Food Bank SWIM Program Manager; Consuelo G., a San Antonio Food Bank HOPE program participant; and Leslie Clements, Humana Foundation Senior Program Officer

Consuelo G. reports not having time for herself because she is always caring for her sick husband.  Her family often struggles with having enough food to last through the month.  Her home was in poor condition, but the San Antonio Food Bank’s program helped her connect with Casa Verde to assist with home repairs. While Consuelo calls the repairs a blessings, they also caused stress and caused the family to relocate for several months. Consuelo and her family recently returned to the repaired home, and the above photo marks the food bank’s first visit since their return home.

The San Antonio Food Bank and The Humana Foundation are working together to address food security in San Antonio
Leslie Clements, Humana Foundation Senior Program Officer, and Maggie Gonzalez, San Antonio Food Bank SWIM Navigator and Consuelo G’s main point of contact at the food bank
The San Antonio Food Bank and The Humana Foundation are working together to address food security in San Antonio
Inside the San Antonio Food Bank’s warehouse
The San Antonio Food Bank and The Humana Foundation are working together to address food security in San Antonio
A Lion King-themed display inside the San Antonio Food Bank’s warehouse. Each year SAFB hosts a Can-Struction contest with local organizations, and the winner’s sculpture is displayed onsite at the food bank.

 

CategoriesBold GoalNutrition and Food SecuritySan AntonioStrategic Community Investment Program
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