FAIRBANKS, Alaska - H.E.L.P, is an acronym for Health Education Learning Program. HELP, is a pilot partnership started between the Alaska Health Fair, The Literacy Council of Alaska and the Fairbanks Community Food Bank.
This week they cut the ribbon on the new program. Together their goal is to provide food and education for those who have dietary challenges due to medical conditions.
Anne Weaver, C-E-O with the Food Bank, says this is a partnership of these agencies coming together doing what they do best.
"It's a really exciting program it's been so fun were already good partners, we're united way agency partners anyway. And the opportunity to come better together and just kind of serve the community better, what a joy." Weaver said.
The Alaska health fair offers materials showing what it is to be healthy and to get you through medical concerns and answer questions. The literacy council offers cook books and more information. Now the Fairbanks community food bank is able to provide food for those with medical conditions. Weaver says this is sometimes the biggest barrier that those in the program may be struggling with.
"Because okay I'm am a diabetic now I didn't know that till today. What does that mean? And how do I afford to buy a bunch of produce when I've been used to having to buy less expensive foods." She explained.
She says with the opening of Costco and the amazing generosity from all the other stores in the community, they have been able to think about what else the community needs.
"And pretty soon it fell into place just through some conversations." Said Weaver.
The HELP program is on a referral basis.
"In order to be able to receive the food and the services from this program, it's on referral so that means any medical doctor, nurse, any other agency can refer you over to us just say, hey this person's having a little bit of a need and this I think is going to be a good fit." She said.
The HELP Project is on the second floor at the food bank and is open from 10am to 2pm Monday through Friday. There is special volunteer staff available to answer questions and refer people to other local resources.