Impacting Native Nutrition with Support of the Walmart Foundation
We are excited to announce that Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) has received a $329,480 grant from the Walmart Foundation to help fund programs that provide essential, high quality food and nutrition services to Native Americans in tribal communities. This funding will support PWNA’s ongoing effort to improve health through better nutrition and education.
PWNA first received a grant of $258,000 from the Walmart Foundation in 2016, and was able to fund multiple initiatives aimed at food distribution, nutritional education, community garden projects and a Southwest mobile training unit. In fact, due to this aid and the dedication of our reservation partners, in less than a year PWNA provided food and nutrition assistance, including:
- 133,668 pounds of fresh produce delivered by PWNA to food pantry partners and benefiting nearly 20,000 community members
- 63,599 pounds of emergency food and bottled water
- 62,103 pounds of shelf staple snacks and meals
- Nearly 5,000 backpacks filled with nutritional snacks and juices for youth
- 10 community and youth gardens expanded in the Southwest, including $50,000 in re-grants and garden supplies
- Mobile unit education and support services such as canning/food preservation training sessions and cooking demonstrations reaching Native communities in 8 states
These efforts made a significant impact on Indian Country, exceeding even our own expectations. As an example, our canning training sessions led many from Horse Creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation to pair with their community garden leaders to provide canned goods to the local homeless shelter. As enthusiasm for this training spread through the local community, the tribe requested that PWNA provide additional opportunities for nutrition education, which was met through fresh fruit and vegetable smoothie demonstrations. We were also able to conduct similar demonstrations to reach another 108 individuals in the Southwest on the Gila River, Maricopa, Salt River, and Pascua Yaqui Reservations.
We hope to continue this record of success with the 2017 grant, supporting our reservation partners through nutritional education initiatives. Today, food insecurity continues to be an obstacle to lasting health and self-sustainment for many tribal communities. This is especially detrimental to younger generations, as diabetes among American Indian teens aged 15-19 has risen 68 percent between 1994- 2004. This issue not only affects the community members of today, but creates difficulties for the generations of tomorrow.
The funds from the 2017 grant will be used to support PWNA’s gardening programs, helping community members get their start by providing garden materials and training in how to best care for crops as well as supplying garden tools, seeds, and fencing for participants. We will also expand community and youth gardens in the Northern Plains and the Southwest. Our mobile nutrition education efforts will continue with canning instruction, healthy food preparation/cooking training, and supplying tools such as knives, blenders, and food processors.
The support of the Walmart Foundation ensures that PWNA will continue to have an impact in remote communities around the country, as we work with reservation partners toward improved nutrition and self-determination for Native peoples.