SENECA CO., N.Y. — As part of the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC) Grant, the Seneca County Health Department (SCHD) has been working with Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension (SCCCE) and local food pantries to increase healthy food options for the community. The House of Concern is the largest food pantry in Seneca County and has been serving people for over 51 years.
Due to the pandemic, more people find themselves in need of assistance from food pantries. To ensure they receive healthy and nutritious food options, local food pantries need ways to store more fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy options. Without this appropriate storage space, donations of fresh produce sometimes have to be turned away or run the risk of food spoiling before families can use it. In accordance with healthy food service guidelines, for food pantries to offer servings of whole fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk, refrigerated storage space is needed. After conducting a Food Service Guideline assessment with HOC staff, it was determined that they could offer more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk options to their clients, but they did not have adequate storage space to receive these healthy food donations. Some of their refrigerators are old and costly to repair.
It was determined that HOC needed a reliable, two-door commercial refrigerator unit to be able to accept more donations of fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk products. Using funds from the CHSC grant, a commercial refrigerator was donated to the House of Concern and delivered on May 25, 2022. Donations of fresh produce, scratch-made soups, and low-fat milk from a local grocery store are received weekly and can be stored in this new refrigerated space. “We were fortunate to have CHSC funds available to solve this problem so that families can have access to healthy food options”, said Mo Tidball with Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension who worked with Delores Morgan and Angel Landis, from House of Concern, to identify this need and solution.
The House of Concern serves about 400 families a month in Seneca County and has increased distribution by over 50 new families since January 2022. The new refrigerator has allowed the House of Concern to offer more healthy and nutritious food options to the community.
The House of Concern will work with the Seneca County Health Department and Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension to continue to improve Food Service Guidelines and acquire healthy food donations to help better serve the Seneca County community.
–Creating Healthy Schools and Communities
Pivital Public Health Partnership