The Food Bank of Delaware and Beebe Healthcare officially announced their new Food “Prescription” Program partnership at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes.
Recent studies have indicated a strong connection between food insecurity and heightened occurrence of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. This pilot program seeks to utilize medical interventions to increase consumption of healthy foods among patients with high risk factors for food insecurity and diet-related health conditions.
Through this pilot program, patients identified as being at risk for hunger are provided a box of shelf-stable foods upon discharge from the pantry within the hospital. They also receive a “prescription” to visit the Food Bank’s mobile pantry three other times during the year. Referring patients fill out a survey with a care coordinator to measure health outcomes in connection with the program.
“It is very important for us to get healthy foods to our most vulnerable communities,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We know that many health conditions are directly tied to poor nutrition. By utilizing partnerships with medical facilities we hope to improve the health and wellbeing of Delawareans who are at risk for food insecurity. Our goal with this pilot is to develop best practices that can be replicated in other Delaware healthcare facilities.”
“The Beebe staff is committed to offer the best care and access to services available, and we feel very fortunate to have partnered with the Food Bank of Delaware team,” said Beebe Health Care Community Health Coordinator Catherine Murphy. “Being one of the coordinators I am very proud of this program, and I have seen first-hand during the pick- up day how much this means to the families we serve.”
To date, 18 patients have participated in the program. Patients who are identified as at risk for food insecurity are identified by discharge planners and care coordinators to receive a pre-made box in addition to three “prescriptions” to visit the Food Bank’s mobile pantry. The vehicle visits the healthcare facility on the second Wednesday of every month, and participants walk away with both shelf stable and perishable food. Participation in this program is only open to Beebe Healthcare patients who are referred by their discharge planner or care coordinator.
“This program has helped a lot,” said Ronald Hottes, program participant. “With my illness I have been out of work for over a year and with the increase in medical expenses it has been a struggle to pay the bills and feed my family. Every little bit each month helps make us feel more comfortable.”
“This Program has helped a great deal,” said Brian Cristman, a Beebe CAREs Program client and recipient. “I live on disability funds and this helps it go a long way. I don’t take what I don’t use. I hope more people will take advantage of this program; I know there are many families in need.”