Current Local Food Resources and National Nutrition Month

Good nutrition is critically important

So much of what’s going on in the world right now is beyond our control, but keeping ourselves and our families healthy is of utmost importance. While we are practicing social distancing this month as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus and keep ourselves, our friends, and family healthy, an important step we can take to help protect ourselves and our families is to practice good nutrition. March is designated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as National Nutrition Month to encourage and support the public in making informed and healthy nutrition choices. We at Jump IN promote the 5-2-1-0 concept of healthy habits (5 fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, and 0 sugary drinks). We have loads of 5-2-1-0 tools in our Resource Hub, designed for parents, teachers, early childhood educators, faith leaders, and those interested in employer wellness. Another good resource is My Plate from the USDA. MyPlate is US government-recommended model of healthy eating and replaced the food pyramid that so many of us grew up with. It focuses on plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein and dairy. Our friends at the Action for Healthy Kids have created a Healthy Eating Toolkit for parents and educators that’s another good resource. While we’re making so many changes in our daily lives – coping with school cancellations, working from home, straying from our normal routine – eating right is one thing we can control and it’s especially important right now.

Dad laughs eating breakfast with daughter

Jump IN for Healthy Kids does a great deal of work in the healthy food access space to help increase the availability and affordability of healthy food. Unfortunately, Indy Hunger Network’s Pantry Summit that was scheduled for this week had to be cancelled cancelled. A focus of that summit was to be helping create healthy pantries and encouraging healthy choices within pantries. A useful tool that we created for the Pantry Summit is a Healthy Pantry Packet that is free and available for download.

Where to access food resources right now

Many food assistance outlets are closing or changing hours due to the coronavirus. Please share with others this site that the Indy Hunger Network has created to map and keep current the locations providing means and groceries to those in need. You can also download the Community Compass, a new app created by the Indy Hunger Network to connect users with food – both meals served and groceries. The app is available at the App Store and Google Play.

This site, created by Chalkbeat, shows where students can access free meals and food during this quarantine. The site is available in English and Spanish. The following image shows where Indy Parks is distributing food. Youth under 18 are eligible for free meals and adults are eligible for sandwiches. Please share any and all of these resources to help our neighbors in need.

Indy Parks offers free meals for youth and sandwiches for adults.
Indy Parks is continuing its FREE after school meal services for youth ages 18 and under, and will follow the schedule above. Second Helpings is providing sandwiches for adults.

Please consider supporting your local food pantry during this time of isolation and uncertainty so that they can keep fresh and healthy foods stocked for some of our most vulnerable central Indiana residents. Cash donations are the best and fastest way to help. Healthy food supports good health and is critically important for everyone. Visit the Gleaners website or Indy Hunger Network to find a pantry near you.

Dad and son cook together

Stay safe, and for more resources, visit our Resource Hub for more recommendations and tools that you can use at home.

Coming up: on Friday we’ll share ideas, tools, and resources for getting enough physical activity while you’re socially isolating. You can make it fun for your family and develop a healthy routine right in your own home.