Feeding America is piloting its project with three food banks which seek to improve the health outcomes of individuals with type 2 diabetes who are also struggling with food insecurity.
Program begins by meeting people where they are, often in line waiting for food and meals at the local food banks or partnering churches and organizations.
Clients are enrolled in two ways:
- Individuals are screened for diabetes at the food pantry setting.
- Healthcare partners are also identifying patients with diabetes who are food insecure and referring them to the program.
Screenings include free HbA1c testing and various surveys to measure the severity of their food insecurity, the presence of diabetes and other health issues as well as medical care needs.
Clients who need medical care and supplies are promptly referred for services. Strong relationships with healthcare partners make this possible.
The food bank provides boxes of food to clients to support a healthy diet. These food boxes includes whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables that are low sodium or without added sugar. Fresh produce and dairy items also accompany the food boxes.
Clients with diabetes and their families receive educational material in their food box and are offered an opportunity to participate in a free class on healthy methods for managing their diabetes.
Participants learn how to read food labels and how to purchase and prepare healthy meals.
Participants also learn how to check their HbA1c and are provided cost effective resources to do so. The program collects this information after 6-months to track health outcomes.
In the preliminary data, the program’s effectiveness and positive outcomes are seen in the reduction in depression and diabetes distress, and an increase in self-efficacy in its participants.