August 2021 Moment of the Month: Celebrating State & Federal Investments in Nutrition Incentives

Partners and Community Leaders Commemorate Funding Secured for Healthy Foods, Families, and Futures 

Highlights from the Press Event at the Warren Farmers Market on 08/31/2021

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandella

There’s always a model, a map, or a method to find, follow, and finesse to overcome, overtake, or out-maneuver all obstacles, large and small.

For the Healthy Community Partnership, we’ve built our Roadmap for Change and Bold Goals from raw materials provided by Collective Impact, Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Communities framework. The routes and milestones have been plotted using data collected from the Mahoning & Trumbull Community Health Needs Assessments, County Health Rankings, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention Healthy People 2030.

The obstacles in place preventing residents in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties from living long, full healthy lives are significant in multitude and magnitude. Which is exactly why the Partnership came to be—as Helen Keller so succinctly said it: 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Through the strength of our relationships and following the path collectively carved out, the Partnership has marked multiple milestones, including celebrating several policy victories through the most recent SFY 2021-2023 Ohio Budget.

Most significant was the recent recognition of both state and federal resources allocated for Produce Perks Midwest’s Ohio Nutrition Incentive Program–together, the total amount allocated adds up to nearly $7 million. The breakdown of the funds can be viewed below:

In a press release announcing these investments and inviting partners and the community to celebrate at the Warren Farmer’s Market in August, the history and impact of the Nutrition Incentive Program to families, farmers, and retailers is clear. By the end of 2020, the grocery stores and farmers markets currently accepting the program, more commonly known as SNAP Double Up, resulted in a quarter of $1 million in healthy food purchases. 

Moving Mahoning and Trumbull Counties status as two of the least healthy counties in Ohio and the second most food insecure Metropolitan Statistical Area in the country may seem impossible. 

While our work is far from done, these victories are the soul food needed to re-enforce the model, map, and method keeping us on track and believing that there is truth and proof of concept in the mantra: alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

After the microphones are cut, the lights dim, appetizer crumbs swept up, and the final flakes of confetti fall, the work presses on even though the celebration winds down. As one of our Partners summed it up: [The Partnership continues] working hard in silence, letting success be the noise. 

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