Food for Health Programs

Oklahoma consistently ranks as one of the worst states in the United States for health, which includes: cardiovascular deaths, diabetes deaths and obesity. Oklahoma has one of the lowest rate of vegetable consumption in the nation. Food insecurity is linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases. The experience of living with food insecurity may result in poor cognitive development and can lead to chronic disease later in life for children.

Healthy Pantry Certification Program

The Healthy Pantry Certification Program is set to launch in mid-2020. Through a training program, community-based partner agencies will implement steps to help improve the quality of diet of the people they serve through the selection of healthier food options. For more information, contact Keeley White at kwhite@rfbo.org.

Fresh Produce Distribution

The Regional Food Bank places a priority on increasing the volume of fresh fruits and vegetables distributed to community-based partner agencies. More than 13.2 million pounds of produce were distributed last year, representing 26.62 percent of total food distribution.

Fresh Food Mobile Markets

Fresh Food Mobile Markets provide fruits and vegetables to clients in areas with low access to fresh food. Each month clients at 7 metro Fresh Food Mobile Markets receive an average of 28 pounds of fresh produce. Last year, 427,560 pounds of produce were distributed to children, families and seniors facing hunger.

Healthy Living Pantry Boxes

These pantry boxes contain shelf-stable food selected in partnership with registered dieticians for clients living with chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Nutrition Education

The Regional Food Bank is committed to helping its clients have healthy food options; giving clients an opportunity to lead healthier, more productive lives; ensuring healthy food is available for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases; and identifying and growing partnerships in medical settings, such as hospitals and clinics.  Individuals who live with hunger have poor health outcomes, which is why Food for Health is so important.   As part of this commitment, the Regional Food Bank will continue to do innovative work supporting new and existing partnerships with health care providers and develop new nutrition partnerships with others who can help expand client access to healthy foods.

Expansion Plans

In addition to the above programs, the following ideas have been discussed for expanding this focus area:

  • Clinical Partnerships: Develop and expand health partnerships with state-wide healthcare hospital systems, clinics and the county and state Department of Health to increase access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables through “prescriptions” for fresh food prescribed by doctors who have identified at-risk patients, provide opportunities for increased nutrition education, and emphasize lifestyle and nutrition changes that could improve the overall health of under-resourced children, seniors and families.
  • Expand the emphasis on health at Food Resource Centers: Include a larger volume and greater variety of healthy foods available, health screenings at intake, nutrition education and cooking classes, and resources and referrals for clients.
  • Data and Research: Coordinate one or more research projects to contribute to the body of evidence that increased access to food improves health outcomes.