Last year, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation launched First 1000 Days Sarasota County, an effort to bring together dozens of health care providers and nonprofits to make sure that every child born in Sarasota receives adequate care during his or her first 1,000 days of life. A new facet of that initiative: making sure that every kid has enough to eat during those vital early years. The foundation recently awarded a $674,628 grant to All Faiths Food Bank to start a new program designed to identify families going hungry.
Hunger isn't just an unpleasant sensation. In young children, it can lead to serious development delays that cause health and behavioral problems decades down the line. According to Barancik Foundation president and chief executive officer Teri Hansen, children today aren't often identified as food insecure until they enter the public school system. The new initiative aims to reach brand new parents before they leave the hospital with their infants.
To start, All Faiths is partnering with Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg to create a screening system that will identify young families that might not have enough food at home. Those who are going hungry will be referred to available services. After collecting data and refining its process, All Faiths hopes to bring the screening program to other providers in the following years.