Join us on March 21, 2017, at Hy-Vee on E. Euclid, starting a 6:00 PM, for our new Nutrition & Wellness kick-off event.
Learn how to prepare tasty and healthy meals! All program participants will receive a gift card.
Come hungry and bring a friend.
- Reserve your spot
- Transportation assistance
- Allergies/dietary restrictions
- Disability accommodations
Please call Anneke Gustafson at (515) 248-1825 by March 20th.
Dear Patients, Clients, Friends and Supporters,
Happy New Year from all of us here at The Project! We are excited to kick off 2017 and with that, the Client Advisory Board and Project staff are pleased to announce a new Nutrition and Wellness Program. This gift card-based program will provide income-eligible clients gift cards to Hy-Vee or Fareway. The Nutrition and Wellness Program will replace the food pantry starting February 1. We know our clients have been grateful for the food pantry throughout the years. And we are especially grateful for all of the donations and volunteer efforts contributed to this effort. At the same time, the pantry has had a number of limitations that have hindered our ability to fully support the health and wellness of the individuals and families who utilize it. The gift card-based initiative will address many of those limitations:
- Participants can select their own food.
- Food is not limited to the items that are donated.
- Perishable items are available and stored appropriately.
- A larger selection of healthy foods will be available, including fresh produce, dairy, and meat.
- Culturally-specific ingredients are more likely to be stocked at larger grocery stores.
Why did The Project develop this new program?
The number one reason we have decided to develop the Nutrition and Wellness Program is because of the feedback we have received from our clients. The most consistent message we received was a desire for more fresh food and a greater variety of options.
Another important factor is that people are living with HIV much longer than 20 years ago when the food pantry was first introduced. As people age, nutrition and wellness become increasingly important and The Project is committed to supporting the health of people living with HIV.
Lastly, hundreds of food pantry options exist within the Des Moines area. Eligible clients can continue to use local food pantries, as needed – and most of those pantries are bigger and better than ours has been. Our staff will help connect clients to those options available to them. By leaving the donation-based food assistance programming to the community experts, we are able to concentrate on getting people nutritious foods that supplement , rather than duplicate, what food pantries offer. In fact, by reducing staff labor costs required to assist clients in the food pantry, more money will go directly toward food assistance.
Finally, this new program will provide increased educational opportunities! All clients are welcome to participate in educational, individualized grocery store tours at their local Hy-Vee guided by the store’s dietitian. Additional grant funding allows us to help cover the cost of medical nutrition therapy, weight loss programming with a medical referral, and educational classes through collaboration with Hy-Vee.
We have worked closely with the consumer advisory board to plan and make The Project’s Nutrition and Wellness Program the best it can be to serve the needs of our clients. Thank you to that wonderful team of volunteers for their input and expertise!
Cheers to good health in 2017!
Greg Gross HIV Program Director & Roger Lacoy Consumer Advisory Board Chair