Grant supports efforts to improve food security in Chattanooga communities of color

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Reggie Smith shows inside The Partnership Food Pantry at Bethlehem Center on September 12, 2022. Bethlehem Center has several community outreach initiatives that look to give back to the Alton Park area and surrounding.

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank and the Bethlehem Center are the recipients of a $250,000 grant from Feeding America's Food Security Equity Impact Fund, which aims to improve food security in communities of color that are disproportionately affected by hunger.

"Research shows that people of color experience food insecurity at rates two to three times higher than that of white individuals," Chattanooga Area Food Bank Director of Community Engagement Jennifer Fritts said by phone. "This particular grant is focused on really addressing those root causes of hunger and food insecurity and focused on those communities of color."

To receive a Food Security Impact Fund grant, Feeding America network members such as the Chattanooga Area Food Bank were required to partner with community-based organizations led by and serving people of color.

At least 85% of the grant funds must go to the community-based organization, with the goal of driving resources to organizations with historical barriers to funding access, according to the Feeding America website.