CHOP Helps Agencies Connect Hunger Relief to Healthier Outcomes

November 4th, 2011 § 0 comments

 

At the CAFB St. Johns Food Pantry, clients may choose items to support their nutritional needs.

Nutrition labels should make it easier for consumers to make more informed, healthful food choices. The reality: nutrition labels are a reflection of the battle between public policy and industry priorities. When food makers devise their own label plan and medical professionals respond with strong criticism, social service agencies serving the most vulnerable members of our community need an alternate solution to make informed choices.

With obesity rates on the rise, record levels of uninsured people, and some foods and ingredients linked to obesity related diseases such as hypertention and diabetes, food banks developed their own way to help agencies easily judge the nutritional quality of the products offered beyond industry labeling.

CHOP, short for Choosing Healthy Option Program, is a comprehensive program created by Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to promote the acquisition, distribution, and consumption of healthier food.

CHOP rankings provide an easily understood and effective tool that can be used to empower those involved in emergency food solicitation and distribution, as well as food recipients to make healthy choices. All food items in the Food Bank warehouse are ranked based on the nutrient content included on the nutrition facts label and ingredient list. Foods are ranked 1, 2, 3 or MC (minimal contribution), with 1 being the highest rating a food can receive.

Each month, CAFB nutritionists analyze the CHOP rankings to measure progress toward the nutrition goals for food distributed by the Food Bank. Nutritionists can also look at the Partner Agency order history, which includes CHOP rankings, to determine the amount of nutritious food ordered and offer assistance to agencies in making healthier choices for their clients.

Hunger relief is more than simply delivering “food in the belly”, but rather a conscious, planned and deliberate delivery of good nutrition to our neighbors in need. With CHOP, making healthier choices is in everyone’s reach.

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