April 16, 2019
Texas Health Community Impact initiative to facilitate food pantry setup and related assistance

Many young people in Sanger struggle with hunger, one of the factors that contributes to development of mental health issues, area leaders said.

Texas Health announced today a new initiative, called Texas Health Community Impact, awarding the Sanger Independent School District $300,000 to address some of these social determinants of health in the 76266 ZIP code.

The grant is one of 12 awarded in five regions of North Texas. The total grant amount is $5.2 million in this cycle.

“Food pantries and resiliency education for all middle and high School students will change the lives of the students participating,” said Ann Hughes, director of student intervention at the Sanger Independent School District. “The addition of wraparound case management where all of the family challenges are considered and addressed and an intervention/support plan developed to address all of these needs will allow families to successfully overcome barriers to high quality of life. Access to counseling, medical and dental services at no cost with no questions asked has the power to change the lives of families in the community.”  

Texas Health’s Community Impact initiative employs a data-driven, outcome-focused approach.

“It’s said that a person’s ZIP code has a greater impact on their health than their genetic code,” said Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan. “That’s why we’re reaching out into the communities we serve and hoping to make a real difference in the health and well-being of people in these areas of North Texas.”

Research and study by community members as part of Texas Health Leadership Councils found that mental health issues came up again and again during community focus groups and needs assessments.

They layered in data from community readiness surveys and performed “windshield assessments.” During these visits, Texas Health learned more about the areas where individuals lacked access to food and were isolated, which can lead to depression and physical problems. Living in food deserts (areas that lack healthy food options) can result in chronic ailments, such as diabetes and heart disease, that damage the well-being of individuals and entire neighborhoods.

“We can't change the world, but we can teach students that there are people who care about them and places to receive help, giving them the resilience to cope with the world they find themselves in,” said Gayle Strange, Leadership Council chair for Denton and Wise counties.

To address the issues in Sanger, the school district is partnering with the Sanger Educational Foundation, First Baptist Church of Sanger, the Tarrant Area Food Bank mobile pantry, First Refuge Ministries and the city of Sanger including the city library.

Among the plans:

  • To set up a food pantry in Sanger
  • To provide training for parents, teachers and counselors in helping teens deal with psychological trauma and increase their resiliency.
  • To train a staff member as a Community Navigator to connect community members with mental health providers.
  • To set up a process to identify youth with low resiliency scores and connect them to the appropriate level of care.
  • To provide trauma-based counseling to youth in both community and school counseling programs.

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About Texas Health Resources

Texas Health Resources is a faith-based, nonprofit health system that cares for more patients in North Texas than any other provider. With a service area that consists of 16 counties and more than 7 million people, the system is committed to providing quality, coordinated care through its Texas Health Physicians Group and 29 hospital locations under the banners of Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Huguley. Texas Health access points and services, ranging from acute-care hospitals and trauma centers to outpatient facilities and home health and preventive services, provide the full continuum of care for all stages of life. The system has more than 4,100 licensed hospital beds, 6,400 physicians with active staff privileges and more than 26,000 employees. For more information about Texas Health, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.  

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