Follow Up: December Florida Food Forum
Food Policy for Wellness
If you were unable to attend the meeting, the full presentation is available online here. You can also view the presentation slides in this pdf.
To keep the conversation going, please visit our forum on Food Policy for Wellness here to add your thoughts and comments.
On December 20th, the Florida Food Forum on Food Policy for Wellness was led by Dave Krepcho, President/CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
In his talk, Dave covered many important areas such as: the intersection of food insecurity and health, the Central Florida response which included non-traditional partnerships and the Health and Hunger Task Force, and local pilots, projects and next steps.
Dave began with the Mission of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida: “To create hope and nourish lives through a powerful hunger relief network, while multiplying the generosity of a caring community.”
As a hunger relief network, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida provides food to 600 various charitable feeding programs including food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, schools, hospitals and clinics over 6 counties: Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard, Volusia and Lake. In total, they reach around 500,000 Central Floridians each year of which around 180,000 are children. Last year alone, they distributed close to 60 million meals.
With a lack of affordable housing, healthcare, and public transportation in Florida, food insecurity is a serious result.
“Florida has the 3rd highest number of food insecure children in the country,” Dave noted, “74% of households receiving food from Second Harvest live in poverty, 50% exhaust snap benefits in two weeks, and 60% of households were employed in the past year.”
Dave went on to frame the cycle of food insecurity and chronic disease and how to look at food insecurity as a way to address social determinants of health.
“Food insecure patients cost the health care system, on average, almost $1,863 more per year.”
One of the most serious effects economically of food insecurity is the rise in additional health care costs of up to $52.9 Billion as there is an increase in chronic disease treatment, diabetes hospitalizations, and hospital readmissions.
By working with healthcare partners as a food bank, there is an opportunity to tackle food insecurity.
Dave continued with the Health and Hunger Taskforce, a platform which launched in 2015 that focuses on goals such as: food insecurity screening, building value proposition for the work, measuring health outcomes. The taskforce serves as a platform for funding opportunities, knowledge transmission, and advocacy, all while leading the way to improve patient and community health.
Currently, Second Harvest is working on a variety of short- and long-term pilots and projects to find innovate ways to fight food insecurity. Going forward, the organization is looking at specific areas such as: sustainability of healthy food costs, buy-in from the clinical community, increased awareness, utilization/integration into healthcare systems, addressing barriers, nutrition education expansion, and healthy food access/food as medicine institutionalized across the provision of healthcare.
In regards to policy, Dave mentioned the Medicaid Waiver 1115, which enables compensation for “experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects that are found by the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] to be likely to assist in promoting the objectives of the Medicaid program.” This kind of policy allows for increased research in this area which may foster long-term change.
Following the presentation, Vice President of Agency Relations and Programs Karen Broussard joined the discussion which touched on a number of important topics.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida Website
Feeding America Website
Bio: Dave Krepcho is President/CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida; a member of Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger relief organization in the U.S. Second Harvest Food Bank serves a six County area in Central Florida through a network of 550 partner agencies. Last year, Second Harvest distributed enough food for 58 million meals, have trained and placed into jobs 280 graduates of their Culinary and Distribution Center Training programs and generated $100 million worth of SNAP benefits through their award-winning mobile outreach program. Second Harvest’s annual economic impact in Central Florida is $187 million. The organization annually receives Charity Navigator’s Four Star rating.
Dave has 26 years’ experience in food banking in positions such as a national Feeding America Board member, past president of Feeding Florida, chair of the Feeding America eastern region, chaired various national task forces, member of a bi-partisan Washington, DC think tank, serves on the 4ROOTS Board as well as the Florida Nonprofit Alliance. He was the Orlando Sentinel’s Orlando Sentinel’s “2009 Central Floridian of the Year” and in 2019, Orlando Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful People: Philanthropy & Community Voices.” Prior to his role at Second Harvest, Dave was V.P. of Business Development at Feeding America. Before he reinvented himself as a food banker, he had a career in the Advertising Agency business and attended Columbus College of Art & Design. Dave is married with two children, seven grandchildren.
Forum Host: Dell deChant is the Associate Chair of the Religious Studies Department at the University of South Florida and a member of the Board of Directors at the Florida Food Policy Council.
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Disclaimer: The views of the presenters do not represent the views of the Florida Food Policy Council. We are a forum for the offering and sharing of information and encourage diversity and communication within the food system.