On average, 1 in 8 people in Wisconsin are food insecure, meaning that in the past 12 months they were worried food would run out before having money to buy more or the food they purchased did not last and they did not have the money to buy more food. Poor nutrition can lead to nutrient deficiencies, malnutrition and an increase of health concerns, such as high blood sugar, heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, depression, lowered immune function, dizziness/falls and poor overall health.
Prairie Ridge Health and the Volunteers of Prairie Ridge Health partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to provide heart healthy and diabetes-friendly food to individuals in the hospital's service area. The Hunger Care Program provides 30 lbs. of healthy, nutrient rich foods each month to help individuals manage their diabetes and heart health. Eligible recipients were screened for food insecurity, diabetes and heart health concerns.
"We started with 20 community members and were able to add five more recipients in December," said Rachel Selm, RDN, CD, clinical & community registered dietitian nutritionist.
Every month, individuals receive a food package containing fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, meats, low-sodium canned goods, and whole grains. Recipes using items in the food package are provided each month and the Prairie Ridge Health nutrition team is available for consultation. The Volunteers of Prairie Ridge Health staff the monthly pick-up day at the hospital.
"Together we can do so much more," said Selm. "Funding for the program has been approved for another year and we hope to add more recipients in the future."