SEATTLE, September 14, 2023 – Nearly 27 percent of Washington households experience food insecurity which is defined as limited or uncertain access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Nutrition insecurity takes it one step further and is defined as a lack of access to foods that keep individuals healthy and well. The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, is working alongside the Washington Food Coalition, a coalition of hunger relief organizations in Washington, to address nutrition insecurity and ensure Washingtonians who utilize food banks and pantries across the state have access, information and food that supports whole body health and wellness.  

“This work has really morphed into something special,” said Trish Twomey, Executive Director, Washington Food Coalition. “We started by exploring, alongside American Heart Association and our members, what was important to us when we think about health and food. We developed our own nutrition policy which has evolved into supporting our member food banks throughout the state to do the same. It’s inspiring to see how invested they each are in the health of the communities they serve.” 

The project began with a survey of food banks and pantries across Washington and asked them to report their wants and needs related to nutrition education and signage – both types of information and languages used among clients. From there, many months were spent developing a comprehensive set of resources which are now being packaged for distribution to 68 food banks and pantries statewide. The resources include recipe cards with links to videos that feature ingredients commonly found in food banks and meet American Heart Association nutritional guidelines, shelf tags and posters that help customers understand which options may be heathier choices, and educational flyers about the dangers of added sugars, excess sodium and other nutrition topics. The initial release will include four languages: English, Spanish, Ukrainian and Russian. 

“Many people facing food insecurity don’t have the luxury to choose foods that support health,” said Cherish Hart, VP of Community Impact, American Heart Association, Puget Sound. “For example, people with high blood pressure need to watch their sodium intake and many shelf-stable convenience foods that are commonly available at food banks can contain high levels. We’re working alongside these organizations by advocating for foods that meet cultural and nutrition needs that support health equity. At the same time, the new nutrition materials help individual customers learn more.” 

The project was supported by American Heart Association sponsors who are committed to the work around nutrition security, like Apex Foundation, Costco Wholesale and Delta Dental of Washington, as well as through Washington Food Coalition’s work with WSDA-Food Assistance. Delta Dental of Washington shares why they are inspired by this work and would encourage others to walk alongside them, “Nutrition security is a shared passion between the American Heart Association and Delta Dental of Washington,” said Diane Oakes, chief mission officer, Delta Dental of Washington. “Ensuring our community has access to the foods that contribute to total health, which includes oral health, is critical. These resources are a great example of what can be done when like-minded groups work together. We need to continue projects like this to make healthy options available to all.” 

To learn more about the American Heart Association’s work to address nutrition insecurity in the Puget Sound, visit

Sample materials:


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with the Washington office on, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

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