Rotary District 5930 Inspirational Service Award Presented to MHP Salud.
Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative presented MHP Salud with the Rotary District 5930 Inspirational Service Award for our commitment to provide solutions to help end hunger in our communities.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) in our programs have played a pivotal role in addressing hunger and health in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley’s predominantly Latino neighborhoods, also known as Colonias.
Colonias are full of hard-working families, but they often live close to or below the poverty line. These communities also face challenges in the form of unsafe housing, poor infrastructure, and the lack of critical resources and amenities. Even fresh food can be hard to find.
CHWs in our programs conduct door-to-door outreach in Colonias to inform families where and how to access essential resources like food banks and community centers. The CHWs also provide information about federal assistance programs that are available to them.
Community Health Workers who work in our Rio Grande Valley happily accepted the award on behalf of MHP Salud.
In our Juntos Podemos program, Promotoras, the Spanish term we use to describe CHWs, identified Latino parents and caregivers of children ages 8 to 13 who qualified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The SNAP program provides much-needed benefits to families so that they can buy healthy and fresh food.
Although life in the Colonias can be challenging, many families still maintain a sense of hope as shown in this mural that reads, “Juntos podemos cambriar nuestro mundo” (Together we can change the world).
Homes that are unfinished or built with low-cost materials are a common sight within the Colonias.
The SNAP application process can be challenging for these families because they may not have information about program qualifications, could have difficulty reading or writing in English, or may not have transportation to agencies that process applications.
Promotoras help by educating families on what documentation is required to qualify for SNAP and guide them through the application process in Spanish, making it easier for more families in the Colonias to receive help. Educational classes accompany application assistance in order to teach families how to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. The courses cover how families can incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets and how they can stay active to reduce their risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes, that disproportionately affects their communities.
As we look to the future, MHP Salud will continue working to improve the lives of underserved families by strengthening our own Community Health Worker programs and CHW programs across the nation so that everyone has a chance to lead a full and healthy life.
More About the Texas Hunger Initiative
Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative conducts research to determine what efforts are most effective to address hunger. They work with local agencies and community-based organizations to provide support and collaborate on initiatives from child nutrition to public policy.