Food as medicine: Health Equity & Advancement Fund partnering to end hunger in Colorado

August 31, 2022
Caregiver Sylvia Robertson gardening.

As healthcare professionals, we know adequate and healthy foods play a significant role in the health of the body. We also know the realities of hunger in America which impacted 38 million households in 2020, an increase of nine percent from the year prior. With Black and Latinx households disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, we have the opportunity to have an impact through the Centura Health Equity & Advancement Fund and are proud to 19 non-profit organizations working to eliminate food insecurity in our state.

In honor of Hunger Action Month in September, take a look at the incredible work some of our grantees are doing to provide food as medicine, more equitable and just food systems, culturally-relevant food, urban farms and reduction of food insecurity for our agricultural workers:

  • Project Angel Heart provides food as medicine, delivering comfort and support through high-quality nutrition services, including medically tailored meals, free of charge. Regardless of a person’s background or circumstances, Project Angel Heart believes everyone should have access to the nutrition they need—especially when they are sick—and we couldn’t agree more!

    In the coming year, with support from Centura Health Equity & Advancement Fund, Project Angel Heart will provide more than 390,000 meals to more than 2,400 Coloradans facing the dual challenge of food insecurity and a severe illness diagnosis, giving them time to rest and recover, and allowing them to live independently at home.
  • Manna-The Durango Soup Kitchen is actively committed to creating a more equitable and just food system through serving nearly 90,000 meals per year to the Durango community. Centura Health Equity & Advancement Fund will provide Manna with the needed financial support to purchase local and regional culturally and nutritionally significant produce, proteins and groceries to distribute to those in need. Program participants identified foods that are culturally relevant and nutritionally appropriate which will expand access to those in need and help to improve health disparities by distributing balanced, healthy foods year-round.  
  • Project Protect Promotora Network combats malnutrition by partnering with food banks to distribute fresh, healthy food directly to agricultural worker housing sites or community events. Team members of the Project Protect Promotora Network also purchase culturally-relevant items from grocery stores to deliver to the agricultural worker families who power Colorado's food system.

    Centura Health Equity & Advancement Fund will help the Project Protect Promotora Network reduce food insecurity in agricultural worker communities of the San Luis Valley and Southeast Colorado by providing critically needed food services paired with COVID-19 education to mitigate the threat of the pandemic while addressing long-term economic oppression and malnutrition of agricultural workers.
  • Urban Symbiosis is committed to building a fair ecosystem and food system that cultivates long-lasting community relationships, provides resources, events and locally grown food to the Aurora community.

Centura Health Equity & Advancement Fund assisted Urban Symbiosis to launch its community objectives for this year and beyond, including the building and establishment of two new BIPOC Backyard Urban Farms businesses in 2022/23 which will be in Northwest and Central Aurora. These new farms will be added to their growing food network and will be a much-needed addition to help bring food security to Aurora neighborhoods located in food deserts.