The UMCOR Nutrition department was founded at 1999. All programs of the Nutrition department have the same goal: to combat hunger and support and empower vulnerable/disadvantaged people living in state institutions (special/boarding schools for handicapped and socially vulnerable children, retirement centers, orphanages, mental hospitals, and kindergartens for socially vulnerable children) and in targeted rural communities.
In1999 the Nutrition department started its programs with “Free cheese distribution programs” that still exists today. Over ten years this US State Department funded program distributes cheese to special institutions to improve diets of beneficiaries living in the institutions and to promote the market for local cheese producers.
Later (2000-2003, the Nutrition department implemented “Social Transition Program”, which aimed to improve diets of schoolchildren and university students by providing seasonal food assistance. 6,000 schoolchildren were supported with daily lunches.
In 2011 the Nutrition department started to work on the community level. Foods Resource Bank made it possible to work not only in special institutions, but also at Semyonovka, Anipemza and Ahnidzor communities of Armenia. The project addresses the vulnerability of families and the lack of self-sufficiency in food procurement of state-run institutions for their residents through provision of agricultural inputs and technical assistance.
As a short-term result, UMCOR envisions that the communities and institutions supported through the project will achieve food security through increased food accessibility and availability and utilization of more nutritious products for consumption. As a long-term result, families will obtain valuable knowledge and afford better healthcare for their dependents through generated incomes while institution staff will continue to provide nutritious diet to future residents. In the process, beneficiaries will develop self-confidence and fewer people will seek labor opportunities away from their homes.