Food for Health

a person looking through the foods available as part of the Food For Health program

Food for Health

Food Bank of the Rockies’ Food for Health Program started in 2022 with the goal of connecting people experiencing food insecurity and chronic health issues with weekly, nutrient-dense, medically tailored food boxes. In fiscal year 2023, the program partnered with five healthcare centers in the Denver metro area and provided 225 participants with weekly food boxes and fresh produce for one year.

Food for Health is designed to support the nutritional security of community members living with chronic diseases such as pre-diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. It supports communities by increasing access to nutritious foods and bridging the gap between healthcare and community food systems in support of improved health for individuals living with chronic disease.

Food for Health’s current mission statement is as follows:

To become a trusted partner of healthcare organizations, pursuing the shared goals of alleviating food insecurity and supporting the health of individuals with certain chronic diagnoses. To document progress toward improved health outcomes and reduced medical costs for program participants over a 12-month period. To assist in connecting participants with long-term support after their enrollment period concludes, including with community Hunger Relief Partners and associated social services.

5 healthcare partners
225 participants supported
2,821 boxes of food distributed
13,660 pounds of fresh food distributed
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Food for Health Program by the Numbers for Fiscal Year 2023

A person holding fresh produce from their Food For Health box

Rochelle is an artist currently pursuing a masters of fine arts. Due to having high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, Rochelle was referred to the Food for Health program at Food Bank of the Rockies by a provider at Denver Health.

“I’m having trouble making grocery bills or making my groceries last for the month. So, the weekly deliveries are really helpful. Especially the vegetables and the pantry stuff [like black beans and tomato sauce]. It means I have food and I have the house. I’m just kind of trying to make it through.”

A person preparing a meal using the ingredients from their Food For Health box.

Sam is a patient at Denver Indian Health and Family Services receiving treatment for his diabetes. With a daughter to care for, even with SNAP benefits, Sam shared that food expenses have been a challenge. His medical provider connected him with the Food for Health Program to help with both his diabetes and lessen the burden of food insecurity.

“We’ve been living just off of the bare necessities lately, and this really helps to prepare meals and stuff on a weekly basis. Sometimes I have leftovers and I use up my food stamps and I make a meal out of all that.”


At the start of the pandemic, Food Bank of the Rockies was contacted by a home healthcare provider that wanted to bring food to people needing in-home care and who required nutritional support. In 2022, Lutheran Medical Center contacted Food Bank of the Rockies seeking food to fulfill interventions that came from new social determinants of health screenings per the state of Colorado’s Hospital Transformation Program. Food Bank of the Rockies recognized this was a community need and sought out other hospitals and clinics helping low-income families in need of food to improve their health.

  • Whole grains: rice, cereal, pasta, oats
  • Low-fat milk
  • Canned fruits (no sugar added)
  • Canned vegetables (low sodium)
  • Canned tuna and shelf-stable chicken
  • Herbs and/or spices
  • Nutrient-dense snacks like sunflower seeds, almonds, and dried fruit
  • 5 lb. bag of fresh produce

Note: all boxes are intended to accommodate a heart-healthy and diabetic-friendly diet.

Food for Health boxes are tailored to support a nutrient-dense, heart-healthy, and diabetes-friendly eating pattern inspired by the USDA MyPlate guidelines. A combination of fruits, starchy and non-starchy vegetables, lean animal and plant-based protein, grains, and dairy are provided in every box.

We strive to provide fiber-rich, low-sodium, and no-sugar-added items as much as possible. A variety of fresh produce, dried herbs and spices, and recipes are included throughout the program to support diverse flavor preferences and cooking styles. By providing mostly whole, unseasoned foods, our intention is to provide flexibility for the creation of culturally relevant meals and snacks by each participant.  

The healthcare partner sites were chosen based on a growing need with an interest in the program to expand services for those who’ve been affected by food insecurity. We joined forces to help our neighbors increase access to nutritious foods as well as reduce hospital admission rates and improve health outcomes.

We are pursuing this goal by partnering with a variety of healthcare organizations who serve under-represented and vulnerable populations to provide additional services where nutritious foods may be unavailable. Food Bank of the Rockies partners with Clinica Colorado, which serves the Latino population, and Denver Indian Health and Family Services, which serves Native American and Indigenous American communities. Some organizations like Denver Health have identified barriers to food access in their patients and have been working over the last few years to close that gap via food insecurity screenings.

Representation of diverse groups shifts our understanding for what kind of support is needed, which allows us to take immediate action. This gives us the opportunity to extend services across the Denver metro area to anyone who may benefit from supplemental food assistance.  

The four health conditions Food for Health focuses on are heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Colorado; diabetes is the tenth-leading cause of death. Both conditions are related to or worsened by high blood pressure and early signs of insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes. We focus on these four intertwined, diet-related illnesses in pursuit of improved health outcomes and quality of life for individuals living with food insecurity.

By increasing access to nutritious food, building nutrition and culinary skills, and providing resources to address other social determinants of health, we strive to support program participants in their journey to better health.

Learn More

Fox31 coverage of Food for Health featuring one of our partners, Denver Health.

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