New Fairbanks partnership wants to HELP

Note: The print version of this story incorrectly listed the Monday through Friday hours as noon to 6 p.m. The correct hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is a new partnership in the Fairbanks area, called the “H.E.L.P. Center for our Neighbors in Need.” H.E.L.P. (Health Education Learning Project) is a pilot partnership started with three local non-profits and United Way of the Tanana Valley member agencies with each having long and successful histories (right at four decades each) in the Tanana Valley community. This team effort includes the Fairbanks Community Food Bank, Literacy Council (in Fairbanks) and Alaska Health Fair’s Tanana Valley/Northern Region office (in Fairbanks).

The focus and purpose of the project is to improve the overall health of all our Tanana Valley neighbors through vast amounts of health education, with an additional bonus offered:  the availability of fresh produce for those medically referred into the program and for seniors who receive a CSFP food box and have need to supplement their diet with fresh produce.

The Fairbanks Community Food Bank serves more than 350,000 meals each year, to more than 10,000 families, and is the fiscal partner—donations or interest in volunteering can be made through their offices. Alaska Health Fair is providing an extensive amount of health materials to promote current health education for those visiting the center, along with their Tanana Valley/Northern Region offices (also located on the second floor of the Food Bank).  When people visit the center, they might come into contact with Alaska Health Fair medical volunteers, who can help them navigate the vast amount of information in the center and discuss health topics of interest. The Literacy Council serves a large number of people who speak English as a second language, deal with dyslexia or have other reading challenges, who will greatly benefit from attending and receiving the benefits located at the center. So, the partnership is a strong one.

The center will have a Chamber Grand Opening on Tuesday, January 15 from 4 to 6 p.m. Please come check out what we have to offer. Afterward, the center is planned to be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with supplemental pack-your-own pack service from noon to 4 p.m. Staffing is by volunteers. Address is 725 26th Ave., Suite 202.

For additional information, visit the Fairbanks Community Food Bank website at Select the News & Events tab and pull up the Winter 2018 edition of their Harvest newsletter. If you have more questions, call Sam at the Food Bank (907) 456-7267. She is the initial contact person until a center phone number is established. Ron Phillips is the volunteer on-site manager.

Sharon Phillips is the Tanana Valley/Northern Region program director for Alaska Health Fair, Inc.