Goal: Increase access to health services.
Strategy 1: Benefits Advocacy and Referral Coordination
Navigating the system of benefits and care available can be time-consuming, confusing, and complex for anyone. We support programs that assist clients with enrolling in public benefits, such as Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps) and help people find providers for the services they need to stay healthy.
Strategy 2: Accessing Care Services
We want to live in a community where everyone, regardless of income, can access health care. We support programs that provide primary care, dental care, mental health care, and substance use disorder support to low-income residents.
Goal: Decrease food insecurity.
Strategy 1: Hunger Relief
Our partners at Food Gatherers distribute at least 6 millions pounds of food per year through their extensive network of food pantry and congregate meal partners. At least 50% of the food distributed is protein, fruits and vegetables. We support Washtenaw County's food bank and food rescue organization to alleviate hunger.
Strategy 2: Nutrition Education Enhanced Produce Distribution
Healthy food is great, unless you don't know how to cook it or don't know why it's important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. We support programs that ensure people that have access to all that fresh produce distributed by Food Gatherers also know how to cook it and serve it to their families.
Strategy 3: Home-Bound Food Distribution
Individuals that are unable to leave their homes can suffer serious health declines from a lack of proper nutrition. We support programs that deliver nutritions meals (hot and cold) to home-bound, low-income residents so they can maintain or improve their health
Stories Worth Telling
The care they deserve: Washtenaw County is blessed with a high standard of living, tremendous educational opportunities, world-class health care and a richly diverse population. For Kelly Stupple, Child Health Advocate at Washtenaw Success by 6 Great Start Collaborative, those virtues also come with a host of challenges, especially for the county’s most underserved residents. One of those challenges is securing and maintaining health and dental care for low income and uninsured children and families.
Why This Matters
- Healthy people are the foundation for vibrant, productive communities. Washtenaw County ranks first among Michigan counties in “health factors” according to the 2014 County Health Rankings released March 26, 2014. However, even in Washtenaw County, where you live affects your health. While Chelsea residents can expect to live up to age 85, which contrasts starkly with Ypsilanti township, where the average life expectancy is age 661. Further, while infant mortality rates have improved overall, black babies under one year still die at almost twice the rate of white babies in Washtenaw County2.
- One in seven people in Washtenaw County struggle with food insecurity or hunger. Food security means having enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle. Food is a basic human need. People that are not food secure are more likely to suffer from malnutrition, be obese, and have poor health outcomes, as they are often forced to choose the cheapest food options, even if they are not the most healthy options.3
- Food insecurity is especially harmful to children. Hungry children are sick more often and are more likely to be hospitalized. They are more likely to suffer growth and development impairments. Hungry children, ages 0-3, are unable to learn as much, as fast, or as well as their peers during this critical period of rapid brain growth. They do more poorly in school and have lower academic achievement because they are not prepared for school and cannot concentrate. Hungry children often grow into workers that are not as well prepared mentally, physically, emotionally or socially to perform effectively in the contemporary workforce.4
1 Michigan Department of Community Health/Washtenaw County Public Health
2 KidsCOUNT Data retrieved from: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data#MI/5/0
3 Feeding America, Map The Meal Gap, 2014
4 No Kid Hungry: Child Food Insecurity: The Economic Impact on our Nation
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