“Teaching nutrition and healthy eating IS addressing food insecurity. People think it’s just filling tummies but if you actually look at the definition of food security, it’s not just having access to food, it’s having access to socially acceptable and nutritious food that promotes health.” Lucy Berman, a registered dietitian and the founder of Nutrition for All, helps families who work with Interfaith Outreach create good habits that promote wellness at home.
Interfaith is partnering with Nutrition for All to provide free, unlimited nutrition counseling this spring via in-person and virtual sessions offered to food shelf guests. Most of the individuals have been referred to a registered dietitian but can’t afford the copay, have only been offered one session per year covered by insurance, or have been referred but insurance doesn’t cover the service at all. Click to start the Nutrition For All Registration Process.
A stipend of $50 is available for every three sessions a client completes, but Lucy tells us that most people forget that the stipend is even available — they are just excited to be talking to a licensed nutritionist. Lucy usually starts by teaching the importance of consistent meal times, as well as demonstrating what makes a balanced meal and basic nutrition information.
Debby Donahue, Interfaith Outreach Food Shelf Experience Leader, is especially excited about this pilot program because it takes the SuperShelf transformation (completed in Sept. 2021) to the next level of serving clients. “Working with Lucy helps Interfaith take one more step on the journey to helping people feel better. We are so glad we can offer this, because healthy eating aligns with the reason we transformed to a SuperShelf in the first place.”
Last year, the food shelf provided enough food to create 9,460 meals for the nearly 200 families that visited each week. Hunger is linked to poverty, underemployment and health challenges like chronic disease, high blood pressure and obesity that can often be improved with healthier eating. Janay, one of Lucy’s clients and an Interfaith guest, agrees: “I feel like I am more aware of what I am having to eat and feeding my family. I, for sure, have way more energy. Overall, I am just feeling great…For a long time, I always thought I was never doing enough. But this all changed when I got some good education from the best dietitian anyone could have.”
Lucy works with 10 families now and says the partnership has great potential. “Everyone I work with really loves the food shelf. It really does meet a ton of needs. Everyone loves their fresh produce and the way it’s set up. The SuperShelf model is fantastic.”
Lucy adds, “I have one mom who’s now working with her kids to have family dinners. She started to play games with them at dinner time and she was quoting me back to them, ‘You need to eat so you can make good choices.’ This was my hope…that my work would echo through generations.”
Lucy’s invaluable services are just one way to address food insecurity in our community. Click below to make a contribution to the Interfaith programs that help us provide food, employment services and personalized support that set our neighbors on the path to new and hopeful futures.