The Healthy Pantry Initiative is a program funded by the Preventive Health and Services Block Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The goal is to increase access to healthy foods and beverages as well as providing information on chronic disease to food pantry clients.  This initiative also aims to support pantry clients in increasing their consumption of healthy foods by highlighting the healthy food choices within the food pantries.

Feeding Pennsylvania member food banks and the PA Department of Health are collaborating on this initiative.  Second Harvest Food Bank has been involved with HPI for over two years and 40 of our pantries are currently participating in the program.  The long-term goal is to reduce the burden of disease and increase the quality of life for Pennsylvanians who use food support systems.

The PA Healthy Pantry Initiative also provides display and storage equipment to nudge clients to healthier options.  This includes shelf talkers, signage, produce information, and/or recipe cards that are instrumental in food demos, tastings, and nutrition classes.  It influences change on an individual basis without restricting freedom of choice, all while providing a low-cost health promoting option. Grocery stores use this same method to attract patrons to seek better choices.  This is also important to those clients who are food insecure coming to their local pantry to pick up items to feed family members.  The Healthy Pantry Initiative also serves those in food deserts that don’t have access to a grocery store in the vicinity of their residence.

For further information, contact David Godoy, our HPI Coordinator and Registered Dietitian, at (814) 459-3663 extension 125 or at dgodoy@nwpafoodbank.org.