As a long term commitment, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations have encouraged and supported effective community planning, collaboration and innovative strategies to reduce and prevent obesity, primarily through the School Wellness and Healthy Food Access Initiatives. The Foundations remain committed to working with various sectors within the community to advance healthy living environments, recognizing that obesity, food insecurity and hunger can co-exist in the same individual, family and community, especially among low-income, vulnerable populations.
Healthy Food Access
The Healthy Food Access initiative was launched in 2013 to address high rates of food insecurity, poverty and obesity in southeastern Ohio. To address these issues, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville invests in coordinated and strategic efforts designed to strengthen and expand the food system, as well as the foodbank and pantry network, to increase the availability, affordability and consumption of healthy foods through various distribution outlets serving vulnerable populations.
To advance the goals of the Healthy Food Access Initiative, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville invested in a multi-year plan developed by the Appalachia Accessible Food Network, comprised of Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), Community Food Initiatives and Rural Action, to support local efforts to increase access to healthy foods. Recent approvals also include strategic planning and capacity building efforts initiated by the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank and support of local food pantries, including the Nelsonville Food Cupboard.
Together, these investments support local efforts to increase the supply of healthy foods from area farmers into the established food hub; build capacity and infrastructure to process, aggregate and store healthy foods; and expand distribution to meet the growing needs of food insecure families.
Bounty on the Bricks
The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville has partnered with the Athens County Foundation, OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital, Sisters Health Foundation and the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank to support Bounty in the Pantries, a grantmaking program resulting from funds raised and matched through the Bounty on the Bricks event, in Athens, Ohio. The investments made by the participating organizations have been directed to capacity building efforts and food purchases within the ten county food pantry network, where up to 20 percent of families experience food insecurity. It is estimated Bounty in the Pantries has impacted over 150,000 low-income, southeastern Ohio residents.