Tri-County Health Network believes that good health starts with eating well. However, food insecurity exists in our community and approximately 12% of our residents lack adequate access to food. In addition, the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables in rural areas can many times be more expensive than the products available in more densely populated places, ultimately proving to be cost-prohibitive to some residents. Because of these needs, TCHNetwork works diligently to connect people to resources through its programs so they can not only buy food but also be empowered to eat healthy on a budget.
TCHNetwork has been enrolling area residents in SNAP (Food Assistance) since 2018. Our state and federally certified Enrollment Navigators can help determine your eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). From determining eligibility to filling out the application and making certain that you are familiar with all the program benefits– our Navigators will help you through the entire enrollment process. Learn more about SNAP here.
Our Navigators are also knowledgeable about the Colorado “double-up bucks” program where participants can access up to $20 per day more to spend on locally grown produce. It works like this – if you spend $10 of your SNAP benefit at a farmer’s market you receive a dollar for dollar match to spend on additional fruits and veggies. Spend $10, you get an additional $10 for free!
Healthy eating is made easier when you have access to quality food and can cook nutritious recipes affordably. Embracing this philosophy, Tri-County Health Network introduced Cooking Matters in 2015. An evidence-based 6-week cooking course, Cooking Matters teaches participants how to cook healthy meals on a budget. With the success of Cooking Matters, TCHNetwork next launched FoodRx, in 2018. FoodRx is a program where patients with chronic disease receive $120 in food vouchers over 7 weeks to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from participating stores. The participants in the program also receive coaching on how to best incorporate healthy foods in their diet- economically. Learn more about Cooking Matters here and FoodRx here.
In 2019, TCHNetwork helped 107 community members enroll in SNAP (Food Assistance) benefits, educated 60 people on how to cook healthy meals through our 6-week Cooking Matters class, and connected 30 people to vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables through our FoodRX Program which is offered in partnership with local clinics. Our Community Health Workers also provided coaching to 533 individuals, which frequently includes helping people develop a plan to eat healthily.
In response to the COVID crisis in 2020, TCHNetwork delivered 525 hot meals to seniors who were unable to gather weekly due to physical distancing public orders. Additionally, for the first time ever, TCHNetwork was able to continue to offer the school lunch program throughout the summer. Approximately 65 lunches are prepared per week for students in need from the R1 school district.
TCHNetwork is committed to health equity and continues to seek out ways to improve access to food and healthy eating for our community through education, coaching, and additional programming.