Over the last three years, BUILD awardees have been working toward addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity in their communities. To commemorate the end of our third cohort and spotlight their impactful work, we will be sharing each of our 18 communities’ stories — highlighting the partners’ collaborative approach to creating meaningful change in their community, the challenges they faced, and the transformative impact of these efforts for residents.

The Marion County Creating Healthy Food Environments (CHFE) Project involves creating and sustaining linkages between the health care safety net and the nutrition safety net. Two anchor health care organizations screened families with preschool children for food insecurity and referred eligible families to the produce prescription program that includes nutrition education with produce pick-up. This network was comprised of sustainable, accessible sources of produce which included a food share program, farmers market, food pantries, and retailers. Food produced will be purchased by participants using their Healthy Bucks benefit through SNAP. Involved partners worked together to improve nutritional literacy, reduce food insecurity, and prevent childhood obesity.

Photo by Lê Minh

Over the past three years, the collaborative led by the Pee Dee Community Action Partnership has been able to:

  • Provide free transportation to more than 1,100 residents to access groceries, health checkups, and more.
  • Referred every participant who screened positive for food insecurity to community resources.
  • Distributed more than 54,600 pounds of produce.

When it became clear that hospitals and health care providers had to focus on COVID, and could not do the routine screenings we had relied upon, we launched the “Hit the Pavement” initiative, which got us into the communities, speaking with residents, businesses, and likeminded organizations about CHFE’s services to identify potential participants and encourage referrals. —Danyell Rogers, Creating Healthy Food Environments

Read more about the CHFE Project in Marion County, SC. All stories from the third cohort can be found here.