Food for Families

Food for Families identifies pediatric patients and their families in Chelsea and Revere who have experienced hunger and food insecurity and connects them to food resources that ensure access to healthy foods.

In Revere, contact be Grace Schierberl: 781-485-6479

In Chelsea, contact Yahaira Guzman: 617-887-3575

Learn more: Food for Families/Cooking Matters designed a class for hard-of-hearing patients

Overview

Hunger and food insecurity negatively impact health and are associated with a higher risk of chronic health problems. The Food for Families program, developed after a Mass General Hospital study, strives to reduce the prevalence of food insecurity and hunger among MGH Chelsea and MGH Revere patients and ultimately improve health. To achieve this goal, the program tracks the prevalence of food insecurity and hunger among primary care patients, and provides patients with concrete resources to improve their access to healthy food. A family with “food insecurity” had at least one person in the household who went hungry in the past month.

About this Program

Food for Families screens patients in three health center clinical departments for hunger and food insecurity via a simple, single-question form that patients fill out while waiting for their appointments. Staff follows up with patients who screen positively for food insecurity and connects families to local nutrition resources such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program), WIC, food pantries, and community meals. In addition, Food for Families works to educate providers within the health center about how food insecurity impacts MGH Chelsea patients and builds relationships with leaders in the community such as food pantry directors, social service agency staff, and SNAP benefit advocates to ensure continued access for patients seeking food resources.

2015 outcomes at MGH Chelsea

  • 1,830 patients were screened for food insecurity in Pediatrics, Adult Medicine, and Pre-Natal. Of the patients screened, 19% had a ‘Yes’ result, indicating that they were running out of money for food, and/or needed food assistance from a
  • Of the 851 people screened for food insecurity, 223 received an in-depth, in- person consultation from the Food for Families Program Coordinator to assess their families’ need (a 43% increase from previous year).
  • 282 families were seen by the program, and received either in-depth consultation or assistance with a discrete and time-limited need
  • 105 participants received in-person SNAP application assistance, and 104 households received emergency gift cards to purchase food at a local grocery
  • 185 Families attended the new weekly food pantry at the Health Center, which distributed more than 42,620 pounds of food to 391 individuals.
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Contact

Contact Us

Rachel Whittier

In Revere, contact be Grace Schierberl: 781-485-6479

In Chelsea, contact Yahaira Guzman: 617-887-3575

Learn more: Food for Families/Cooking Matters designed a class for hard-of-hearing patients

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