Comfort Food Community Receives Grant to Expand Community Health Services

Rural communities face distinct challenges in supporting a healthy population. Lack of transportation, debilitating stigmas, financial struggle, limited community resources, and an assortment of other factors negatively impact rural health. In an effort to combat these barriers, the Adirondack Health Institute has supplied funds to conduct outreach and education in Greenwich and its surrounding areas. They selected Comfort Food Community as a grant recipient to expand services to disenfranchised members of our area. With only 10 hours a week devoted to community health improvement, Pantry Manager Amelia Gelnett, made over 200 referrals in 2017. Referrals included connecting the uninsured to affordable or free health insurance, assistance with heating or other utilities, identifying applicable Department of Social Service programs, behavioral health services, and job preparation. Her time was also spent conducting individual and community health education. She focused on smoking cessation, healthy relationships, understanding digestion, and adapting a diverse range of vegetables into diet.

Amelia’s work has had a tremendous impact on the community, but there are still many service and health disparities to left to address. Throughout 2017, Comfort Food Community’s pantries served 289 individual households. Some experienced unexpected health issues like fibromyalgia or a difficult pregnancy that decreased their income to one. Others are in part-time positions at minimum wage or on fixed incomes, which are not adequate for today’s cost of living. A myriad of causes conspire to put families in precarious positions. To accommodate the unforeseen and provide further reaching assistance, CFC applied to AHI for their 2018 Transformation Grant.

The Transformation Grant extends CFC’s resource navigation and health education while supporting their emergency food relief services. Public education addressing mental health, the impact of trauma, and how our stomachs influence mood, thought, and well-being will take place over the course of this year. Creating a peer support network for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, and arthritis will also be implemented. Growing a medicinal herb garden and promoting local produce by offering samples and recipes is another route in which they’ll support beneficial changes.  

If you are interested in participating in these upcoming programs or would like to know more about our services, please contact Amelia at 518-530-9299. Comfort Food Community would also like to extend their gratitude to the Adirondack Health Institute for making these programs possible. If you would like to know more about their influential work in the upstate area, please visit their website: www.ahihealth.org.