Improving food security

Across the country, 48% of community college students are food insecure, according to the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice’s 2019 #RealCollege survey. At Columbus State Community College in Central Ohio, the numbers are even higher: two in three students are food insecure.

Experts say there’s no bigger distraction to learning than hunger. It impacts students’ grades, test scores and graduation rates. That is why we awarded a $700K grant to support the Mid-Ohio Market at Columbus State. The Mid-Ohio Market, which is on the College’s Columbus campus, is the result of a unique partnership between Columbus State Community College and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

The market provides healthy foods to Columbus State students who are struggling to provide food for themselves and their families, and for those who live in the communities surrounding the campus. Customers can visit the market as frequently as they like.

The Mid-Ohio Market is tracking monthly the number of students and the number of community members who shop at the market, as well as the number of visits per person and the number of volunteers. The market also is measuring the market’s impact on student retention and student graduation.

Through partnerships between food banks and healthcare organizations, food pharmacies represent an opportunity for healthcare providers to engage and inspire patients around healthy eating to promote better health outcomes and move toward food security. Food pharmacies fill prescriptions written by healthcare providers to give patients access to healthy food. They also support sustained nutritional behavior change by providing cooking instruction, recipe sharing and nutritional coaching in addition to free, nutritious foods.

We awarded grants, in five communities where Cardinal Health employees live and work to support their food pharmacy initiatives.

  • Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, in partnership with the Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, Ohio.
    Focus: Improving the overall health of food insecure children and their families.
  • Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, in partnership with Hospital del Maestro, Hospital Wilma Vazquez and Manati Medical Center, Carolina, P.R.
    Focus:  Improving health outcomes and reducing hospital readmissions for food insecure adults with high blood pressure.
  • OhioHealth–Grant Medical Center, in partnership with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Charitable Pharmacy, Local Matters and Creation Gardens, Columbus, Ohio.
    Focus: Improving health outcomes in food insecure adults with diabetes and their families.
  • Our Neighbors’ Table, in partnership with Children’s Health Care Practices, Anna Jacques Hospital and Newbury Port Public Schools, Amesbury, Mass.
    Focus: Improving health outcomes for food insecure pediatric patients and their families.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, partnering with Connectus Health and Nashville General Hospital, Nashville, Tenn.
    Focus: Improving health outcomes for food insecure patients with diabetes and for food insecure patients in treatment for cancer.


Leaders of each food pharmacy program will participate in a learning collaborative led by a subject matter expert, to accelerate outcomes and impact.

In Central Ohio, 16.5% of people are food insecure; a recent study shows that as many as one-third of households in some of our neighborhoods don’t get enough food.

We are supporting nonprofit organizations in their work to increase access to fresh foods for people in low-income neighborhoods. Our grant funding will allow these organizations to increase food pantry hours of operation, provide a mobile grocer in food desert neighborhoods and/or purchase coolers for increased capacity to store and offer fresh foods.

Organizations that received funding to fight hunger:

Visitors to the Mid-Ohio Market.

David Harrison, President of Columbus State Community College, chats with visitors to the Mid-Ohio Market.