HCN News & Notes

Cooley Dickinson to Award $25K to Agencies Improving Access to Healthy, Affordable Food

NORTHAMPTON — In some areas of Hampshire County, at least 15% of residents do not have reliable access to nutritious, affordable food, according to a recent report.

Cooley Dickinson wants to help. To do so, the healthcare system’s Healthy Communities Committee will award up to $25,000 in grants to area agencies whose mission it is to connect local residents to fresh, healthy, affordable food. Grant applications will be accepted through Friday, Nov. 15. To learn more, or for agencies that want to apply online, visit cooleydickinson.org/communityfoodgrants to download a grant application.

“A healthy diet is fundamental to good health,” said Dr. Estevan Garcia, a pediatrician and Cooley Dickinson’s chief medical officer. “Our recent community health needs assessment indicates that, in some areas of Hampshire County, more than 15% of people are food-insecure.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity can occur due to a person’s limited income, lack of reliable transportation, or other reasons.

A total of $25,000 is available in grant funding; area nonprofits may request up to $5,000 per agency and can apply for funding for up to three consecutive years.

The intent of the food-systems grant is to enhance and support agencies whose job it is to bolster local food-distribution systems and projects rather than actually supplying food to area residents.