Access Food Project receives $7,000 grant from Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County

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PITTSFIELD, Ill. — The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County recently gave a $7,000 grant to the Access Food Project as part of its FY23 Healthy Community Grant competitive grant program, which annually selects projects that most effectively demonstrate the ability to impact Pike County’s most pressing physical, emotional, and social health needs.

The grant funds will be used to process more than 300 deer this year. The grant provides a no-cost outlet for deer harvested in Pike County through an easy donation process for the deer hunter.

In a press release, Foundation executive director Patricia McIntosh said, “The Access Food Project is a much needed and very helpful program for Pike County residents. Through the Access Food Program, more than eight tons of venison can be processed by project partners and then distributed to food pantries across the county. Its benefits are multifaceted. Families in need of food assistance can access protein at the local food pantries to feed themselves and their children. As well, it is the most effective program for hunters to directly impact those in need by donation of this valuable wildlife resource.”

This program directly serves 11.9 percent of Pike County residents determined as “food insecure” — 9.2 percent higher than the national average — and rely on the supply of venison from this program to supplement their family’s diet. Food insecurity refers to the USDA’s measure of lack of access at times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all members of the household, and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods such as protein.

Brenda Middendorf, coordinator for the Access Food program, said, “Two Rivers RC&D, through its Access Food – Feed the Hungry program, appreciates the consistent response it has received over the years from the Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County to support our program. The program relies on many grants and individual contributions to cover the processing expense of the donated deer.

“With the significant increase over the last couple of years in the number of deer donated, it has been a challenge to make sure we can cover the expenses. It is reassuring to us that there have been times when we must reach out to the Health and Wellness Foundation for a second grant to make sure that families in need could continue to benefit from these donations with no interruption due to lack of funding. The Health and Wellness Foundation is truly a blessing to our program and to our community.”

The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants since 2004 to projects solely benefitting the health of Pike County. Funding decisions for the Healthy Community Grants are made in the fall of each year by its board of directors: Judge Michael Roseberry, chairman; Michael Kinscherff, vice chairman; Darla Lemons, secretary/treasurer; and directors Michelle Westbrook, Andrea Allen and Zach Orr.

To find out more information about HWFPC’s grant programs, scholarships and community collaborations, visit www.hwfpc.org or call the foundation office in Pittsfield at 217-285-6080.

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