WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) The Wichita Falls Area Food Bank and United Regional have partnered to help improve the overall health of our community by serving and caring for the especially vulnerable populations in Wichita Falls.
Many of those in need reside in urban food deserts and do not have access to nutritious food. Compounding these challenges is the fact that many people who face food insecurity are elderly, disabled, have health issues, and/or have small children.
The Food Bank and United Regional will be meeting that need at its heart – in the communities where these people live.
Starting July 23rd, a Mobile Pantry will be deployed to reach these individuals by bringing them a food pantry and access to essential preventative health care.
The Mobile Pantry will distribute fresh produce and boxes of shelf-stable foods to the Eastside community once per week and to City View twice per month.
According to Feeding America, the food insecurity rate in Wichita County is 18.5 percent. Both of these communities are considered food deserts – areas without access to fresh, healthy foods often due to a lack of nearby grocery stores or a farmers’ market. The few food options available to those residing in food deserts are often highly processed and lack adequate nutritional value.
The Eastside and City View communities were chosen based on proximity to a brick and mortar pantry, status as food deserts, and access to transportation. The impact of the Mobile Pantry in these strategically chosen communities could truly be life-changing for local residents, bringing awareness to the importance of nutrition while also providing healthy options.
In addition to the food packages, United Regional will be sending a nurse to each delivery to provide blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, as well as information about Body Mass Index (BMI) and its impact on overall health.
“These screenings will be voluntary,” said Michelle Nelson, Senior Director of Health Improvement at United Regional. “For those identified as having high blood pressure or blood sugar, our staff will determine if they have a primary care physician and will recommend making an appointment very soon. If they do not have a physician, we will try to coordinate follow-up care for them either with our Transition Clinic, the Community Healthcare Center, or another medical provider for further assessment and care. These follow-up appointments are critical to ensuring these at-risk populations can receive excellent preventative care.”
United Regional will send out an educator to the four non-mobile food drop-off locations on Eastside each month to provide the same screenings and education as well. At each of these visits, United Regional will take this opportunity to share the importance of chronic disease prevention and management.
Mobile Pantry Rollout Dates and Schedule
Dates for first rollout:
- Mill Street Housing Center July 23rd
- Ben Donnell Housing Center July 24th
- City View Baptist Church July 29th and August 8th
- Rosewood Housing Center August 16th
- Midtown Manor August 21st
Schedule for future distributions:
- Ben Donnell Housing Center 4th Wednesday of each month 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
- Mill Street Housing Center 4th Tuesday of each month 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- City View Baptist Church 2nd Thursday 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. and last Monday 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
- Midtown Manor 3rd Wednesday each month 10 a.m. – noon
- Rosewood Housing Center (setup in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church parking lot) 3rd Friday each month 2:30 p.m. -4 p.m.