SARASOTA/DESOTO COUNTIES, FL (August 22, 2023) – In an effort to better identify – and assist – people who are food insecure, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation has awarded All Faiths Food Bank (AFFB) a three-year grant totaling $2,496,581 to expand its pediatric hunger screening pilot program. The funds will be used to increase food insecurity screenings while adding case management, providing Food Rx (packages of healthy foods available at partner organization sites), and implementing program evaluation in Sarasota and DeSoto counties.
AFFB partners with healthcare and other providers who use a validated survey tool to screen patients for food insecurity; those who screen positive are referred to AFFB, who then contacts the clients, connects them with food resources, and provides assistance with other benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), health insurance, free tax preparation, and rental assistance. Combined, these services can help families access food, achieve financial security, and stabilize their households.
In 2016, All Faiths Food Bank evolved its mission to reflect the critical role the organization plays in improving the health of our communities. This change shifted the food bank’s practices to include not only a large increase in fresh produce distribution – also funded by Barancik Foundation – but also an expansion of the Food Bank’s partnerships to incorporate healthcare organizations.
In 2019, Barancik Foundation awarded funds to launch a three-year pilot Pediatric Food Insecurity Screening project to reduce childhood hunger and its negative health effects. The screening project was initially launched in partnership with Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Additional healthcare and nonprofit partners were added as the pilot program progressed in years two and three.
“Food insecurity is invisible and undetectable to those who are not experiencing it, yet the consequences can be devastating – especially for children,” said All Faiths Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank. “Hunger can result in negative outcomes for children, including poorer general health, acute and chronic health problems, increased hospitalizations, poor academic performance, and anxiety and depression. We are so grateful to Barancik Foundation for its ongoing support in the effort to end hunger in our community.”
All Faiths has established partnerships with 20 providers in 25 locations, including Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Johns Hopkins, CenterPlace Health, DeSoto Memorial Hospital, pediatric practices, and other nonprofit partners to screen more than 50,000 people for food insecurity, offer nutrition assistance, and referrals for additional social services.
AFFB has also recently undergone a strategic restructuring of the programs team and has added case management services – a new endeavor, one that is not typical in food banking. Data gathered during the project is being used to evaluate the process, compliance, and barriers to screening. Further, it is guiding improvements to the overall project, client referral rates and access to food as well as future potential partnerships.
For more about All Faiths Food Bank, visit allfaithsfoodbank.org.
About All Faiths Food Bank
All Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties, providing millions of meals each year in collaboration with 480 programs and partner agencies throughout the community. All Faiths works not only to end hunger today but also strives to end hunger – forever – by helping families and individuals gain long-term food security, enjoy better health outcomes, and achieve self-sufficiency. All Faiths is rated 4 stars by Charity Navigator and is a member of the Feeding America and Feeding Florida networks. For more information, visit allfaithsfoodbank.org.