‘Food As Medicine’ Program Provides Food For Low-Income Patients

Dick Durbin and Jim Hires

Jim Hires (right) with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank in Urbana.

Sean Powers/WILL

We’re hearing more and more about how the food we eat affects our health.  So, it only makes sense that a foodbank would partner with a healthcare provider to give healthy food to those who need it.

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank is working with Promise Healthcare to provide food to patients of Frances Nelson Health Center in Champaign and the Community Resource Center in Urbana.

Eastern Illinois Foodbank President and CEO Jim Hires says his organization has been trying to implement a program like “Food as Medicine” because food and health are so closely linked.

“Actually we began talking about this about three years ago," Hires said, "just in general about the need for a program that provided food as medicine because it’s a known fact that lack of nourishment and people who are food insecure tend to have poor health.”

As part of the program, staff with Promise Healthcare are trained to screen for food insecurity as part of each medical visit at Frances Nelson and the Community Resource Center.  If they find a need, they give patients a two-to-three day supply of foods such as tuna, peanut butter, applesauce, and macaroni & cheese. 

Hires says the program has been running for about two months, and is being funded by a two-year grant from the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation.

Story source: WILL