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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Working for Better Access to Doctors, Heathy Foods in Rural TN

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Friday, September 1, 2023   

September is Hunger Action Month, and Tennessee groups are working to get more heart-healthy foods to people in rural communities as well as greater access to medical care.

Some 70 of the 95 Tennessee counties are made up of at least 50% rural residents, and they face challenges in accessing food resources and hospitals.

Mozetta Jackson, vice president for community impact at the American Heart Association of Middle Tennessee, said it's helping out with a "Healthy for Life" nutrition education program. It has a set curriculum, where people in the community teach classes on how to buy, cook and eat healthy meals on a budget.

"Another way that we help increase nutrition security is around working with different pantries," she said, "and so we have a partnership with Second Harvest, where we actually helped them pass a healthy-food policy, where they have adopted the American Heart Association healthy food standards."

Jackson added that it also partners with the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center. For instance, they recently helped the health center purchase a refrigerator, boosting their capacity to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to their patients.

Registered dietitian Emily Germer at the Matthew Walker Center said the center is located in a so-called "food desert," with few healthy grocery options, and its food pantry serves people of low income who often are underinsured in the community. When people come in for food, she said, it's a chance to meet their health-care needs as well.

"Part of the issue is that they don't have access to food. That's where our pantry comes into play," she said. "And also while they're here, they get other services - such as medical services, dental, behavioral health; we have X-ray here, mammograms. Anything that they need, we can pretty much provide."

Germer added that lack of transportation is a key issue for rural individuals not being able to get food. She said some rely on public transportation and rides from Uber to get to and from the pantry and health center.


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