Core Connections Network

Core Connections Network creates a safety net of information, services and resources for clients at Houston Food Bank partner agencies.  The program is part of the evolution of the Houston Food Bank.  Nutritious food is used to bring people into an environment where they are connected with services and receive education about health issues.   As a result, we are helping people in the most profound ways, encouraging and empowering them to build a better future.

Program Overview

Hunger rarely lives in a vacuum.  Quite often, if someone is wrestling with hunger, that person has many other challenges in life related to health care, education, employment, housing or any number of potentially daunting issues.

The Core Connections Network is a group of HFB partner agencies that are doing more than distributing groceries.  They’re committed to providing nutritious food while addressing other struggles their clients face.

Key components for Core Connections Network clients include:

  • Access to nutritious food through visits to food pantries or special food distributions like Community Food Fairs
  • Connections to social services – government, private and faith-based; health care; and community resources
  • Enrollment in SNAP and other state-funded services
  • Health education classes
  • Referrals to resources such as diabetes education, Affordable Care Act navigators, financial literacy, and/or employment assistance

Representatives from a select group of agencies will be trained to teach health and wellness classes, and to guide clients to services that help them with ongoing health and life challenges.

Core Connections Network partners will monitor and track the progress their clients make in learning how to manage ongoing health conditions and acquire life skills.

The program is modeled on an innovative, successful approach used by The Jesse Tree, a Galveston County-based partner agency.

Teach people how to change the world for themselves

When Core Connections Network partners distribute food, they will invite clients who would benefit from a series of classes that will help them cope with ongoing issues.  Class topics include; self-management of information, applications and enrollment; chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stress; transportation and overcoming obstacles to care.  After completion, clients in some locations will be invited to take additional classes that focus on their needs.

Each class curriculum is designed to help clients think and act in new ways to help them make positive lifestyle changes. 

Here are a few excerpts:

Making changes in your life is a process.

When you are financially stressed or do not feel well, you may not feel like grocery shopping, preparing meals and having healthy snacks.  What we eat has a lot to do with how we feel, how much energy we have, and in some cases, how we manage our lives.

Successful self-management means:

  • Consistently making the best choices about your life and your health.
  • Controlling chronic conditions means healthy decisions every day.
  • Your CoreConnections providers are here to help you make those good decisions.
  • People who manage their chronic conditions are happier, and live longer with fewer complications.

Fact Sheet

Ted Hanley
Core Connections Network Manager

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