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Chapman program obtains grant for food pantry

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When second-year student Dijo Joseph learned that the residents of Maryland Oaks Crossing were struggling to obtain food, he decided to do something about it. Through a local grocer, Joseph identified a grant for low-income populations and got it. Now, the grant will fund the building of a food pantry.

To promote local food production, a sustainable environment and healthy lifestyles, New Leaf Market annually offers two Community Fund Grants of $1,000 each. As president of the Chapman Community Health Program (CCHP), Joseph was selected out of 20 applicants.

“This is a huge step for the CCHP,” said Joseph. “We are broadening the scope of health resources we provide to Maryland Oaks Crossing (a Good News Outreach transitional housing community on Tallahassee’s west side). While it is important to make sure that people are seeing a physician and being linked to the proper medical professionals, it is even more important that their basic needs are met.”

FSUCares – a student organization that reaches out to underserved and underprivileged communities both locally and internationally – established CCHP this spring to assist Maryland Oaks Crossing primarily through monthly health screenings.

“We received feedback from the resident advisory board that many people in the community had to use food pantries to supplement their groceries toward the end of the month,” said Joseph. “With transportation being an issue for many people, it is difficult to access pantries that may be miles away.”

Joseph explained that the property manager had been working to establish a pantry for residents for three years.

“He established a connection with Second Harvest, an organization that stocks food pantries from donated food in the community,” he said. “The only thing that was missing was the space and proper equipment to store the food.”

And with the support of Chapman Foundation trustee and Clinical Sciences Professor Robert Watson, that’s where CCHP could lend a hand.

“We could provide funds to help build this space to properly store food for distribution,” said Joseph. “With the help of my classmate Keith Kincaid and Dr. Watson, we were able to create a detailed grant that encompassed all the plans to establish a successful food pantry.

“I believe that by addressing these basic needs, CCHP will be more successful at our greater goals of community health.”