Food insecurity is defined as the disruption of food intake or eating patterns due to lack of resources. No matter the barrier influencing a family’s food security, access to healthy foods is crucial to maintaining wellness. According to Aurora Medical Center-Manitowoc County’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment, 4% of survey respondents reported their household went hungry because they were unable to afford enough food in the past year.
The City of Manitowoc Downtown Farmers Market provides access to many locally grown or sourced produce and products. The Aurora Medical Center-Manitowoc County provided funding that made it possible for market guests to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables utilizing EBT services. This increased access to fresh foods for those in our community who are food insecure and have FoodShare benefits. In addition to this strategic financial support, hospital team members support the farmers market by staffing an educational booth.
Some other examples of the hospital’s efforts to expand access to healthy food within the community include:
- Educating families about the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The program provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. In 2021, our hospital educated 210 families about the program.
- Our hospital also continues to provide in-kind food donations to local food pantries. The food pantries then distribute the food directly to families in need, with a total value of $26,964 donated in 2021.