The Unity Health Partnership: Providing Pathways to Health Access and Equity

In the coming months, members of the new Unity Health Partnership – a multisector collaborative effort to address the social determinants of health in Bergen County – will open the Unity Health Center in Garfield. The partnership includes the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), Greater Bergen Community Action, Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, The Garfield Health Department, Mid Bergen Regional Health Commission, CBH Care, Generations for Garfield, and North Hudson Community Action.

The Unity Health Center will be a health and wellness center that provides accessible, quality, and comprehensive care to low-income, underserved, and underinsured residents of Garfield and the surrounding towns. It will contain a client choice food pantry, a demonstration kitchen, an in-house pharmacy, medical labs, examination rooms, and so much more.

The pandemic revealed that, even in a healthcare-rich and prosperous suburban place like Bergen County, there are structural barriers to quality care for so many people. And hidden among the county’s more than 900,000 residents are about 70,000 individuals struggling with hunger. In Garfield, specifically, there is an especially high concentration of need. About one in five Garfield residents is food insecure.

That’s why Bergen County is a focus area for CFBNJ and why we’re excited to be part of the Unity Health Partnership.

One of our goals as the state’s largest food bank is to address hunger as a health issue. Our partnerships with all sectors of society, including the Unity Health Partnership, are a major part of that goal. Food insecurity and health are linked, and we work every day to address the interconnection between them.

In the Unity Health Center, CFBNJ will operate a supermarket-style client choice food pantry that will emphasize healthy options and allow neighbors to choose the food that they want for their families. CFBNJ will also provide nutrition education and SNAP application assistance for a holistic approach to food insecurity.

At the Unity Health Center, there will be no wrong door. Just by stepping onto the campus, every individual will be able to access exactly what they need to improve their quality of life. Together with our partners, our vision is of a fully nourished Garfield.

For more information or to support the creation of the food pantry, contact Renee Helfenstein at