We all know how difficult making healthy food choices can be. For low-income families, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an even greater challenge. However, thanks to PHRQL, a Pittsburgh-based software company, electronic access to a registered dietician and nutrition software in the palm of their hand. Next April, fifty households that are served by our pantry will have the opportunity to try out PHRQL's Connect and Coach software to improve their food choices in and out of the pantry. In addition to access to the dietician and related software, these households will also receive a weekly box of fresh, locally-grown produce to supplement their monthly ration from the pantry and a stipend to help pay their phone bill.
This project was made reality thanks to the UpPrize BNY Mellon Social Innovation Challenge. UpPrize is an annual competition asking for innovative ideas from innovators, students, and start-ups to make the world better, awarding more than $800,000 to make these ideas into reality. This year, UpPrize awarded PHRQL $200,000 to adapt their nutrition software for the CHS food pantry customers to ensure that it is accessible and user-friendly.
CHS and PHRQL will also be partnering with the entrepreneurs University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Health Connections Center based out of the food pantry. The nursing students will be tracking the effectiveness of the project by taking a baseline of the blood pressure and blood glucose levels in each households and measuring them on a regular basis. The hope of the project is to see both blood pressure and blood sugar levels decrease.