Food access initiatives: An integral piece of the Revere, Massachusetts, COVID-19 response
Keywords:Emergency Food Response, COVID-19, Pandemic, Food Access
Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is a community health care system that serves the region north of Boston, including the city of Revere, Massachusetts. In an effort to confront the root causes of poor health, CHA has engaged in an initiative to address the social determinants of health, including food insecurity, homelessness, and unemployment. In 2017, we learned that 51% of our patients in Revere screened positive for food insecurity. In response, we committed to increasing our patients’ access to healthy foods.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated Revere’s existing financial and health challenges: unemployment spiked, and during several periods of the past seven months, the city experienced the second-highest infection rate in Massachusetts. To support the community, we worked with The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) to expand our monthly free produce market at our local health center. We also joined forces with city leadership to promote the produce market, organize food truck pop-ups, and support the city’s rapid expansion of innovative and coordinated food distribution programs. Figure 1 illustrates the components of Revere’s food response.
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