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It is estimated that more than 1 million North Carolinians live in food deserts. Food deserts are neighborhoods that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food. Access in many areas is now even more limited because of supply chain struggles and the pandemic. Learn how collaborations in Anson, Union, and Watauga counties are helping people access fresh and affordable food.
About one out of every ten people living in Wake and Durham counties is food insecure, according to a report from Duke Health. To combat the issue, they're partnering with organizations [like Reinvestment Partners] in both counties to address those concerns, looking at food as medicine.
North Carolina is piloting an ambitious, $650-million Medicaid program to address the social factors that contribute to participants’ health. It’s a big lift that’s gotten a slow start.
“You have to get to volume,” said Skillern. He pointed to one of the HOP services his group administers: $40 worth of fruit and vegetables that participants can redeem at Food Lion or Walmart. Medicaid pays the $40, and Reinvestment Partners receives $5.25 as a service fee per person every month. Even if 1,000 clients used the benefit, the organization would only earn $5,250 a month. “It’s still not quite enough to run a program. That’s part of the challenge.”
So far, Eat Well has signed up more than 1,800 vets in North Carolina.
“But we haven’t scratched the surface of what’s possible,” says Neal Curran, Reinvestment Partners’ Director of Food Programs.
Many low-income Americans experience food insecurity, which may have been exacerbated by economic instability during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In this study we assessed the impact of Healthy Helping, a short-term fruit and vegetable incentive program aimed at alleviating food insecurity and improving diet quality for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants, on grocery purchases, using transaction data from a large supermarket chain in North Carolina.
“This is a rare moment for dynamic growth of high-impact healthy food programs,” said Neal Curran, Director of Food Programs, Reinvestment Partners.
Some of that impact has yet to be settled, said Peter Skillern, executive director of Reinvestment Partners in North Carolina, according to American Banker.
Skillern said TD has been largely absent from discussions about housing and community development, but First Horizon has been actively engaged.
“Whose bank culture will prevail?” Skillern asked. “What will the bank culture do as far as valuation of diversity? What is the diversity commitment at the local level, not just in the aggregate?”
Residents hope a pair of affordable housing developments in Bragtown will help slow the exodus of Black families.
The historic Harriet Tubman YWCA building in Durham has been closed for years, but soon renovation will begin as it will be turned into affordable housing.
The nonprofit group, Reinvestment Partners, purchased the property and will be turning the historic building into 15 affordable studio apartments.
Durham community members met with elected officials on Monday to accept $1 million in community project funding toward renovating the Harriet Tubman YWCA into affordable housing.
"This is support that rewards initiative, and that rewards partnership and that rewards those that get their act together and decide what they're going to do in the community and get it done and that's the spirit here," Price said.