Who We Are
Garden of Health got its start in 2015 as we saw the need for special dietary foods (gluten-free, heart healthy, diabetic friendly, free of 1 or more of the top 8 allergens) and fresh produce in food pantries. We started with one food pantry and one garden with 8 plots in it and a partnership with a wholesale produce distributor.
Did you know that a minimum of 25% of the population has special dietary needs?
Seven percent of the population have to be gluten free (celiac (1%) and non-celiac gluten sensitivity(6%)). It is estimated that 83% of Americans with celiac disease are undiagnosed. (These facts came from Beyond Celiac website.) Type 1 diabetes effects 3 million people in this country 6% of those also have celiac disease, (University of Chicago Medicine)! According to the CDC 9% of the US population has diabetes. Heart disease is the number 1 killer in the US and according to the CDC almost 12% of the US population are diagnosed with heart disease. About 4% of our population suffers from food allergies according the WebMD's (http://wb.md/2s7O31z). According to FARE there are roughly two kids in every classroom with food allergies (https://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats)!
We have quickly expanded to 11 pantries in Montgomery County and 1 in Bucks County. We have been able to secure quarterly donations from manufacturers of this type of food. Donors like Ronzoni (gluten free pasta), Bakery on Main, Enjoy Life, Miracle Noodles, etc.
These foods are not donated to most pantries on a regular basis but there is a need for them! That is where we come in. We work with food pantries to keep these foods stocked. When we start working with a pantry we help educate them on the need for this type of food and what qualifies as special dietary food. We go through their current donations and pull out everything they have that qualifies. This gives the staff and volunteers ideas of what qualifies. We then help keep these shelves stocked through donations of food we get or using funds to go out and purchase what they need.
Each pantry's needs are different, some need all the different types of foods, other need more of one type over the others. For example on of the food pantries we work with gives out 70 diabetic bags a month. These bags are filled with appropriate food for diabetics. This pantry gets a great amount of gluten free donations from the grocery store partners so they don't need as much of that type of food.
"Your wealth should not dictate your health!"
— CAROL BAUER, FOUNDER
81,000 - the number of people in Montgomery County Food Insecure (Feed America)
1/3 + The number of households that are food insecure with at least one person working adult (Feed America)