Houston, TX, July 21st, 2021 – In March 2021, Urban Harvest received a grant award from Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). The HKHF funding is supporting BCBSTX’s commitment to community-based organizations supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our changed world due to COVID has brought to light the increased need for fresh food access, the Mobile Market brings local produce directly to the constituents that need it most,” said Janna Roberson, Executive Director, Urban Harvest. “We are grateful for BCBS ‘s generous support and look forward to seeing impact that food freshness and choice can create in the communities we serve.”
The grant will support the Urban Harvest Mobile Market to address unmet food needs in Houston-area communities that experience consistent food insecurity during – and in the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic and natural disasters. The Mobile Market delivers healthy local food, education and federal benefits enrollment to underserved communities. The mobile market operates out of a refrigerated van outfitted with necessities needed to host a pop-up market anytime, anywhere. To facilitate the practical use of data for decision-making and capacity-building, Urban Harvest partnered with the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University.
All produce is sourced from farms within 180 miles of Houston and sold directly to customers, increasing access to affordable fruits and vegetables in specific neighborhoods making healthy eating an easier choice. The mobile market’s target demographic is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) users, which can receive a dollar-for-dollar match through the Double Up Houston program.
The HKHF program – which centers on nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management and supporting safe environments – has awarded $14 million in funding and impacted the lives of close to three-million children and their families in Texas. Launched in 2011, HKHF started as a three-year project designed to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments. HKHF was extended as BCBSTX’s ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of the children and families across Texas.
“This year’s grant process was especially important given the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sheena Payne, BCBSTX’s director of Community Investments. “So, we are happy to award these grants that will support and nurture meaningful and transformational projects across Texas. Strategically, it is also important that we continue to aid community-based organizations that are directly supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of this pandemic.”