March 17, 2022 Healthy Living

6 resources for getting fresh, healthy food in your upstate New York community

To some, the problem of a lack of access to fresh, healthy food – and at times, any food at all – is visible when we talk with a neighbor or a co-worker. For many, this problem hits closer to home in our own family and our day-to-day lives. Oftentimes, when there is a lack of access to the food a family needs, the result is poor health. Take a moment to think about these numbers*:

  • At the start of 2020, approximately 90,000 residents of the Capital Region were considered food insecure, or without a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life
  • Of those 90,000 residents, just under one-third were infants and children
  • Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Food Pantries for the Capital District has seen a nearly 1,000% increase in call volume to their Food Access Referral Line
  • Nationwide, an estimated one in nine Americans are considered food insecure – that’s over 37 million Americans (more than 11 million are children)

Resources are available in our community for you, or to pass along to someone you know.  Here are just a few.

The Food Pantries For the Capital District is a coalition of more than 65 food pantries. Finding access to food is easy through their searchable online map.**

Available to residents of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties.

The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York also maintains a list and searchable map of agencies and organizations that can assist with connecting you to food in your community.

Available to residents throughout northeastern New York.

Comfort Food Community is a non-profit that provides access to fresh, wholesome food. Comfort Food Community’s programs provide access to local produce through their community pantries, address the problems around food waste with their farm food recovery program, and support the health of those they serve through provision of education and local resources.

CDPHP® members can learn more about local support offerings and information regarding benefits and programs at the Comfort Food Community table at the Glens Falls Farmers Market.

Programs available to residents of Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties.

Capital Roots works to ensure people in urban areas have access to fresh and affordable food. Through programs such as mobile produce markets and its Capital Roots Veggie Mobile, the organization works to address concerns over access and transportation that can lead to food insecurity.

Available to residents of the greater Capital Region.

The HATAS Feed and Read Program is a program that targets both food insecurity and school absenteeism amongst vulnerable children in the Albany School System. Every Friday during the school year, students receive bags that contain donated items from local food pantries, along with a CDPHP sponsored gift card to Stewart’s for a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk. Each bag also includes an age-appropriate book so that children can fuel their minds, as well as their bodies, over the weekend and be ready for school on Monday mornings.

Available to students in the Albany School System.

Foodsmart*** is a digital nutrition platform that helps CDPHP members learn what eating healthy means, save money on groceries, and save time. Foodsmart registered dietitians work with individuals to help overcome obstacles that most often get between them and eating well. Foodsmart allows members to compare the cost of their grocery order at their favorite stores, and search for local grocery deals. And finally, meal planning and grocery ordering with Foodsmart can save members about two hours per week, compared with average weekly grocery shopping.

These are just a few of the many organizations and resources that are available. If you are a CDPHP member seeking assistance, please call us at 1-888-94-CDPHP (23747).

 *Information gathered from the Food Pantries for the Capital District, Feeding America, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

**CDPHP members have access to programs that can help with in-person pick-up or home delivery of food from a site near you. To learn more about whether you are eligible for these programs, call 1-888-94-CDPHP (23747).

***Participation with this service is dependent on plan type. Check your member contract or call CDPHP member services to find out if Foodsmart is available to you.

Sara Rindenello
About the Author

Sara joined CDPHP® in 2021 as a communications specialist. She brings with her ten years of communications experience in the health care industry, with a focus on community development and project management. Sara attended the University at Albany, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

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