This month, Trenton Health Team (THT) received a $3,000 grant from The BUILD Health Challenge® (BUILD) Rapid Response Fund to support work by more than 35 local agencies collaborating to provide healthy food to those in need.

“Access to fresh, healthy, affordable food is a critical issue in Trenton. Decades of disinvestment have left much of the city a food desert,” said THT Executive Director Gregory Paulson. “This already challenging situation has been made worse by the Coronavirus pandemic.”

The recent pandemic has impacted the health and economy of the world, creating an increased need for food throughout the city of Trenton. Through THT’s Food Stakeholders group, which works to improve food access and nutrition across the city, the organization is hoping the BUILD grant will help aid this demand.

BUILD Health Challenge supports projects that are Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local and Data-Driven. The $3,000 that THT received is part of a larger initiative called the Rapid Response grant program, which will be distributing $90,000 to support partners working to improve community health across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, there is a high level of collaboration among community organizations throughout Trenton to support the need of the city. Community agencies, including food pantries, social service providers and farm markets, are sharing resources and identifying gaps in food access and information. In addition, these groups are working together to create new connections between different parts of the food supply and distribution network, mobilize resources to fill immediate supply and capacity needs, and coordinate information between organizations and the public. This recent grant is being used for efforts that are already underway.

Trenton Food Stakeholders partnered earlier this year to create Trenton Area Free Food Resource listing programs that serve children, seniors, families and adults. An interactive map allowed users to find nearby food sites, while a calendar function enables them to set reminders for food distribution events.

“COVID-19 has caused unemployment, closed schools and disrupted school meal programs — which puts families at risk and creates more need for food in our community,” said Paulson. “This online resource makes it easy to find the food assistance you need.”

As the pandemic ceases to subside, THT is grateful for the BUILD grant and hopes to continue partnerships within the city and aid to the rising need.