After a baby is born, a series of tests ensure that the newborn leaves the hospital safe, happy, and healthy. But what happens after that child arrives home? One simple question has created a systemic change in how Sarasota County is addressing childhood hunger:
“Do you have food at home?”
33 percent of households in Sarasota struggle to afford even the most basic needs, like food on the table. Sadly, hunger hurts young children the most, who suffer serious mental, physical and social developmental losses from poor nutrition.
As a founding partner of First 1,000 Days Sarasota, All Faiths Food Bank plays a critical role supporting healthy children and their families. A three-year, $650,000 grant from the Barancik Foundation launched the Pediatric Food Insecurity Screening Project to ensure that no child goes back to a foodless home after a hospital or doctor visit.
In partnership with Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and CenterPlace Health, two screening questions have been added to patient in-take forms to identify food insecurity in households. Positive triggers activate a referral to All Faith’s Food Assistance Navigator, who helps families receive immediate and ongoing food assistance. The navigator also helps families register for federal food benefits and additional services within the First 1,000 Days continuum of care.
The Pediatric Food Insecurity Screening Project is just one example of the power of partnership and its ability to help nonprofits deliver services in new and impactful ways. Over the three-year pilot, staffing will be added as the program develops and referrals increase.