COLUMBUS – House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) announced the transfer of $250,000 in funds by the state Controlling Board on Monday for the Food Farmacy Pilot Project. The $500,000 pilot project, spearheaded by Leader Sykes, will provide comprehensive medical, nutrition, and lifestyle support for food-insecure patients with chronic diseases and their families in Summit County. Upon final grant approval, the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, in collaboration with the local hospital systems, will be able to use these funds to close the disparity gap in income and medical care, with hopes of expanding the project statewide.
“Supporting the health and well-being of families in our community has always been my top priority. The launch of the “Food Farmacy” pilot program is an exciting opportunity to help people in our community access nutritious food and improve their health,” said Leader Sykes. “These funds will allow the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and our local hospitals better serve Summit County residents and provide food and health resources at a time where families could use some extra help. I’m am thankful for their willingness to collaborate on this project and provide a necessary service to our community.”
“Food security is a vital social determinant of health and is the baseline for a thriving community,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “We’re excited to partner with healthcare providers to offer health and nutrition intervention for local families, helping increase the wellbeing and quality of life for the members of this community. We’re grateful to Leader Sykes for her vision and support for this initiative.”
Grace Wakulchik, President and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital, a collaborator, said “As an organization committed to the health of children, Akron Children’s Hospital understands the critical importance of consistent access to healthy and nutritious food. Food insecurity is the most common social need identified by the families we care for and we look forward to joining forces with ACRFB, our adult health system partners, and Medicaid to bring an expanded source of nutritious food to our community.”
Leader Sykes drafted and championed the amendment that was included in the state operating budget that totaled $500,000 over two years. For more information, please visit the Controlling Board Portal.