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JHHC Grants $20,000 to the Franciscan Center of Baltimore

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Providing Healthy Meals to Baltimore’s Most Vulnerable

Franciscan Center of Baltimore, Jeffrey Griffin, Executive Director
Project Name: Providing Healthy Meals to Baltimore’s Most Vulnerable
Social Determinant of Health addressed: Food insecurity
Amount granted: $20,000

Since 1968, the Franciscan Center has offered a continuum of care that includes food, clothing, assistance with utilities, secure mail services, medical screening and emergency health services, eviction prevention, counseling and technology training to help clients become as self-sufficient as possible. Staff and volunteers in Culinary Services, Responsive Services, and Empowerment Services provide nutrition, connection, and education.

The purpose of the JHHC grant is to provide homeless, indigent, and working poor residents of Baltimore City greater access to scratch-made meals and pantry items with healthy ingredients, particularly locally sourced fruits and vegetables. The Dignity Plates Training Academy (part of the Center, created in 2021) will provide basic culinary instruction to prepare students for entry-level culinary jobs. The funds from this grant will be used to support the salaries of the kitchen team and Culinary Director toward the new direction of healthier meals.

Franciscan Center of Baltimore
JHHC presents a check for $20,000 to the Franciscan Center of Baltimore. Pictured (left to right): Craig Williams, Vice President Health Care Innovations; Jeff Griffin, Franciscan Center Executive Director; Dominic Frink, Franciscan Center Chef de Cuisine; Nikki Knight, Franciscan Center Production Cook.

The Center serves “guests” from all city zip codes. Ninety percent have annual incomes which fall within the federal poverty level and only 15 percent are employed. Nearly a third are homeless or without stable housing. Nine out of ten guests identify as African American; most of the remainder identify as Caucasian, while Hispanics and Asians each represent perhaps one percent. Four out of five guests are between 20 and 65 years of age while approximately 12 percent are veterans and one in ten has recently been released from prison.

The Center serves 400-600/daily -- In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center served more than 340,000 meals; in 2021, the number was just over 270,000 but also included 9,200 “Farmers to Families” grocery boxes. Over the next two years, the Center anticipates it will serve more than 600,000 guests and clients.

JHHC is the health insurance division of Johns Hopkins Medicine. JHHC provides a full range of traditional insurance services in addition to innovative managed care programs designed to improve the health of its more than 400,000 plan members.

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