June 4, 2021

Birchwood Senior Mobile Pantry: Chattanooga Area Food Bank

Grants for Good

Recognizing the increased need for access to nutritious foods for the rising number of food insecure and health-compromised seniors in our community, in 2012, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank (CAFB) launched its Senior Mobile Pantry program.  Birchwood, a remote area of Hamilton County, quickly became a priority community for the Food Bank in its effort to address senior hunger. Most Birchwood residents live on fixed incomes and 91% of those served by the pantry are responsible for the care of their grandchildren.  The Food Bank quickly discovered that serving nutritious foods to seniors in Birchwood was the most effective way to reach the community’s food insecure children.

Oftentimes, low-income seniors are forced to choose between buying food or paying for medical care – placing them at risk of developing and/or being unable to manage chronic health conditional like diabetes and high blood pressure — conditions that can be mitigated by healthy food options. Pairing increased access to healthy foods with nutrition education and tools for living a healthy lifestyle to these clients will ultimately empower seniors to take control of their health and the health of their household by embracing healthy eating habits and behaviors.

CAFB utilizes the mobile pantry program model to distribute high-quality, nutritious foods and fresh produce to seniors who would otherwise not have access. Mobile pantries bypass traditional distribution barriers by transporting fresh foods sourced by the food bank directly to established sites in communities with high rates of food insecurity and poverty and limited nonprofit infrastructure. CAFB works with a network of partners to plan and implement the program, which has been critical to connecting with seniors most in need.

Request Amount: $20,000
Community Foundation Grant: $10,000
Funding Gap: $10,000