‘South Broward Community Health Hub’ Supports Health Equity

January 26, 2022
Mobile food pantries bring nutritious food options to Broward neighborhoods that often lack access to healthy, affordable food.

Row after row of bananas, apples, corn, cantaloupe, bread and more – it feels like a visit to a farmers’ market when a mobile food pantry sets up shop in local neighborhoods.

New support to expand the reach of mobile food pantries, community gardens and emergency food deliveries is one of the ways the Community Foundation of Broward helps residents overcome food insecurity.

Lack of access to affordable, nutritious food is a growing problem for families, seniors and others in need – especially in South Broward neighborhoods where community resources are stretched thin.

Taking on food insecurity is a key mission of the new South Broward Community Health Hub.

The Community Foundation in November 2020 launched the South Broward Community Health Hub – a collaboration of nonprofits, businesses, local governments, faith-based organizations and residents aimed at making healthy living resources more readily available.

Too many local residents face obstacles to healthier living due to poverty, discrimination and other systemic hurdles that can make life expectancy differ zip code to zip code.  Lack of health care services and limited access to healthy food are common problems for many neighborhoods made up of lower-income, mostly minority residents.

The South Broward Community Health Hub takes on health inequities in Dania Beach, Hollywood, West Park, Miramar, Hallandale Beach and other nearby areas. The collaborations and grantmaking provided through the South Broward Community Health Hub support lasting solutions that empower residents to overcome health inequities. Its goal is to eliminate food deserts, expand access to health care and improve the overall health of residents.

With more than $500,000 in committed support from the Community Foundation, the South Broward Community Health Hub is:

  • Awarding a series of grants to increase mobile food distributions, improve food bank storage capacity and support community gardening.
  • Collaborating with Memorial Healthcare System to provide free breast cancer screenings and offer other health services through mobile care centers.
  • Enlisting new community liaisons to lead ongoing community outreach efforts and forge more collaborations for long-term health solutions.

Expanding the reach of famers’-market-style mobile food pantries is one of the strategies for tackling food insecurity in Broward.

Food insecurity is a growing problem in communities with long-standing health inequities – a problem made worse by the economic repercussions of the pandemic.

People worried about where they will get their next meal endure much more than just daily hunger pangs. Poor nutrition puts children at-risk for developmental impairments and it makes adults more vulnerable to long-term health problems. Also, hungry students often fall behind in the classroom – at risk of losing out on the brighter future that education can provide. Malnourished adults are more prone to illness, which can keep them away from work and imperil career advancement.

The Dania Beach PATCH community gardens program is one of the innovative partners involved in the South Broward Community Health Hub’s work to take on food insecurity. The Dania Beach PATCH began in 2012 as one community garden on a former trash dump site. It is now one of Broward’s largest community gardens, leasing gardening space to residents and hosting farmers’ markets. The Dania Beach PATCH envisions creating a series of gardens that revitalize rundown properties, feed neighbors in need and unite residents through the joy of gardening.

With a new $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation, the Dania Beach PATCH will provide fresh produce to at least 10 mobile food markets, with plans to possibly expand its efforts to Pompano Beach, Margate and beyond.

“It’s phenomenal to watch it grow to where it has been able to contribute so much to the community,” said Nattaliah Earle, of the Dania Beach PATCH. “Without the partnership, we wouldn’t be able to continue to have the vision expanded beyond Dania Beach.”

Other projects launched by support from the South Broward Community Health Hub include:

  • Expanding refrigerated food storage space at St. Ruth Baptist Church in Dania Beach to help increase community food distributions.
  • Purchasing a new truck for the South Florida Hunger Coalition to deliver more food for those in need in Miramar.
  • Encouraging more production of ancestral foods on Seminole land in South Broward.

In addition to launching new projects to address immediate food and health care needs, the South Broward Community Health Hub works to support long-term solutions for healthier living.

“I want to help my community in Miramar and people in South Broward by sharing information, resources and opportunities that can help their health and well-being,” said Rosemary Morales, one of the new community liaisons for the South Broward Community Health Hub.

Our Fundholders Make It All Possible

The Community Foundation is able to support innovative efforts such as the South Broward Community Health Hub because of visionary philanthropists who step up for the community they love.

Partnering with the Community Foundation to establish an endowed charitable fund is an opportunity to fuel life-changing solutions today and for generations to come.

CLICK HERE to learn about the different types of charitable funds available at the Community Foundation and how we can help you make a BOLD impact for Broward.

Learn More

To learn how you can support the South Broward Community Health Hub, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at nthies@cfbroward.org or 954-761-9503.

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