The Hunger and Health Coalition seeks to open a community center equipped with a free gym, teaching kitchen, computer labs, caseworkers, and a rotating provider/resource room, to address the gaps in our community’s social net and ultimately address the upstream drivers of health that are affecting our neighbors. This center will act as our community’s resource hub, connecting what our county has to offer and ensuring that our neighbors are utilizing the services available to them. Our collaborative creates a replicable model between healthcare companies, insurance providers, and community nonprofits to ensure equitable access to health.


BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


The vision for the High Country is a place where no one has to worry about their health, where everyone in our county can access every tool that they need to reach their health goals. No one knows the needs and struggles more than the people living these stories, and we know our limits to understanding and acting on racial justice. Our place will always be to act as the arms of our community, while the brain remains in the residents with lived experience.


Our Food is Medicine initiative emphasizes preventative upstream healthcare. We see upstream work as both individualistic and population-level change, meaning treating each client with whole-body care and prevention, as well as reaching our children and preventing negative health outcomes from the start. Our project addresses the socioeconomic factors that are negatively impacting our community’s health.


With forty years working in the High Country, we have established trust between residents, partner organizations, and our regional health care system which enables us to work with, and on behalf of, our community. With community residents at the top of our governance structure, our collaborative is well poised to act. Individual organizations have engaged in this work, but the partnership propels what can be synergistically accomplished.


Our community meals give us the opportunity to sit and listen to our neighbors. Instead of having residents come to us, we are going to them. We are prioritizing the residents in our community who are historically underserved and under-heard. Our cookouts provide a casual atmosphere for all residents to share their thoughts and ideas. We have a committee comprised of community leaders, and we will actively seek out the voices of others as well.


Our regional healthcare system is helping to identify and solve health inequities through geomapping and hotspot data. Partnership with BCBS also enables us to collect data on healthcare costs for individuals who use our services. Our next step is the collection of health markers like HgbA1c, blood pressure, BMI, and lipid panels to assess the efficacy of our Food is Medicine Programming.