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Triad Food Security Summit to align community efforts around access to healthy foods for families |

American Heart Association community health mini-grant opportunities for healthy food access to be announced

TRIAD, November 12, 2021 —The American Heart Association will host a virtual Triad Food Security Summit Wed., Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Made possible by UnitedHealthcare, this event focusing on food and nutrition security in our community will convene speakers and key stakeholders representing the diversity of the Triad. Representatives from health collaborators, local government, universities, community and faith-based organizations, farmers markets and other key community leaders and stakeholders are invited to attend. Anyone interested in participating may click HERE to register.

“According to the 2019 Guilford County Assessment and Second Harvest Food Bank, there are 47 food deserts in the Triad, with over 150,000 people in our community living with food insecurity every day,” shared Jennifer Lawson, executive director for the American Heart Association in the Triad. “We know food insecurity is associated with higher levels of cardiovascular death and malnutrition is associated with poor cardiovascular outcomes. With the generous support of UnitedHealthcare, we are thrilled to bring these local entities and resources together to have the greatest positive health impact for Triad families.”

One in 10 people in America are not getting enough food or nutrients they need. COVID-19 has amplified the issue for many families who have been laid off, furloughed or rely on school meal vouchers to feed their children.

“Food and nutrition security are critical for optimal health. There are a number of reasons that people regularly eat an unhealthy diet, often due to limited income, lack of transportation, or because they reside in a food desert where there aren’t many healthy options available. When we all work together to provide access to healthy food and nutritional information, the impact can have a healthy ripple effect throughout our community and through generations,” shared Anita Bachmann, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina.

During this Summit, the American Heart Association will launch a mini-grant opportunity to tackle the challenges in accessing healthy foods. Grants will be provided to organizations located in food deserts, or areas that lack healthy and affordable retail options, to capacitate organizations with the supplies and storage they need to offer healthy fresh and frozen food to residents.

The Triad Food Security Summit will include: (interviews available upon request)

  • Discussions addressing food security needs and system inequities
  • Keynote Speaker, Leah Lizarondo, CEO and Co-Founder 412 Food Rescue, food recovery and redistribution model currently utilized in 12 cities across the country & 1st place American Heart Association national grant recipient of the 2018 EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator
  • Panelists of model projects with food banks, co-ops, farmers markets and others
  • Breakout sessions on grant writing and faith-based initiatives
  • Relationship building and opportunities to collaborate
  • Information about mini-grant funding opportunity

The Problem:

  • People living in lower income areas have significantly higher rates of unhealthy diets.
  • Some people living in disproportionately affected communities may live in a food desert, an area without convenient access to a grocery store or where they would have to take multiple buses to go to the nearest grocery store. This makes eating healthy extremely inconvenient, if not impossible. 
  • For many, the only sources of food in their neighborhood are either from fast food locations or prepackaged items from convenience stores.
  • If we do not address this issue, people in historically disadvantaged communities run the risk of living a shorter life expectancy and may suffer from complex health problems.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.