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Reducing Health Inequity and Hunger Among Veterans During COVID and Beyond

San Bernardino County, CA
Program Year: 2021

Communities of colors and minority groups face food insecurity more than their white counterparts. Lack of healthy food access contributes to many chronic diseases, specifically diabetes and obesity, which are COVID risk-amplifying health conditions. Remarkably, these chronic diseases are also more prevalent in the same disadvantaged communities. The underlying conditions that unfairly predispose the vulnerable populations to the elevated risk of COVID must be addressed to tackle the systemic health inequity. Providing healthy food access will build resilience in vulnerable communities against the immediate threat of COVID and other impending health crisis. Close to two thirds of all the residents living in Veteran Village (VV)—the subsidized housing facility, seek food assistance routinely, underscoring the high food insecurity rate among the veterans. The San Bernardino county public health nutrition initiated a health-equity-focus intervention, aiming to mitigate food insecurity and build resilience in this veteran community by creating easy food access.By facilitating collaborations with community partners, a reliable and sustainable food supply has been established in VV, and funds were made available to better equip its pantry. Health needs assessment is in place to elicit crucial information which will be used to develop capacity-building education classes for the veterans.

Julie Maher
Secretary I