A generous grant from New York Community Trust will fund HELP USA’s new two-year Healthy Supportive Living initiative. The project will seek to provide healthy eating education and improve access to affordable, locally produced foods to resolve food insecurity and improve nutrition for people living in HELP’s permanent affordable housing in East New York. Created as an experiential approach to nutrition education, the project will engage with residents through various outreach classes and workshops, collaborating with neighborhood gardens, community-supported agriculture (CSAs), and farmers markets. Opportunities for tasting, cooking, and exploring fresh-grown foods will focus on cultural mindfulness and affordability to appeal to residents and encourage interest in healthy food choices.
A vital component of the project will be access to NYC Health Bucks, which will make purchasing fruits and vegetables more affordable for SNAP recipients by effectively turning $2 into $4 – matching every $2 spent on produce by SNAP recipients with an additional $2 up to $10 per day.
“East New York is where HELP USA was founded, and it is where we have made a long-term commitment to the community,” said Tina Goodrich, Vice President of Supportive Housing and Services, HELP USA. “Our mission is to not only find people housing but to make sure people stay safely housed and live with dignity. Programs like the Healthy Supportive Living initiative are essential to our ability to fulfill this promise, and we are grateful to New York Community Trust for their partnership.”
With the critical funding provided by NYCT, the project will get underway immediately and be ready for spring’s fresh bounty. The Healthy Supportive Living project will empower healthy eating in a deeply under-resourced community to improve health outcomes through increased fruit and vegetable consumption. But that’s not all. Through this grant, HELP USA will be able to document implementation and measure results, providing quantifiable data that can be applied to improving and replicating this life-changing, and essentially for some, lifesaving effort at other HELP USA sites and like locations throughout New York City.