Renown Health Food Pantry Is Nourishing Patients In Need With Healthy Food Options Available At No Cost, Adapting To Pandemic To Continue This Important Program
Patients who qualify for a “Food is Medicine Prescription” can receive a bag of food for themselves and each member of their family every week through this free assistance program. Renown Health is proud to offer supplementary food to patients in need through its food pantry. Established nearly a year ago, patients who identify as food- insecure are working with Renown’s community health workers to receive fresh produce, canned goods, non-perishable items and other pantry staples to help nourish themselves and their family at no cost. Thanks to the support of the Northern Nevada Food Bank and other local community partners, Renown’s food pantry is helping meet the food needs of homeless and low-income individuals in our community. “Patients’ responses to our food pantry has been amazing,” said Renown community health worker Seth Rubin. “They are extremely grateful when we give them a bag of food. Their eyes light up knowing that they will have enough food to eat for the week without having to worry about finding a source of food for their family.” To make this assistance program possible, Renown’s food pantry receives food deliveries every Wednesday from the Northern Nevada Food Bank. The Food Bank meets Renown’s team of community health workers, along with churches and other medical organizations, with a semi- truck loaded with a variety of foods. After receiving a pallet with their food order, Renown’s community health team collects an assortment of fresh produce, donated from local grocery stores and other community organizations. After that, the food is unloaded into Renown’s food pantry located inside The Healthcare Center. Renown’s community health workers serve patients in the hospital and emergency rooms, as well as individuals who receive care in The Healthcare Center, which provides affordable access to care for anyone in our community. After expressing a need for food assistance, patients are offered a Food is Medicine Prescription. Through this prescription, they can go to a participating food pantry once a week to receive one bag of food per person in their household. PANTRY CONTINUES AMIDST PANDEMIC Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Renown’s community health workers have worked remotely, but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching out to patients who benefit from this program. “We’re currently coordinating outpatient deliveries to our patients,” said Rubin. “Every Tuesday and Thursday, we deliver a bag of food to the patient’s house. It has been a great way to continue providing healthy food to our patients while continuing to provide safe care to the patients we see in person at our clinic. Despite our operations being a little different, our patients’ feelings of gratitude and relief remains the same. This is extremely rewarding work and we are proud to continue serving our community throughout these challenging times.” Renown’s food pantry is currently available to patients of The Healthcare Center. Renown is working to get more refrigeration, shelving and staffing to expand the service to more Renown Medical Group patients. Renown patients who qualify for a Food is Medicine Prescription, yet aren’t patients of The Healthcare Center, are encouraged to visit these participating food pantries once a week. The Healthcare Center accepts all Medicaid plans in addition to other healthcare plans. To learn more, visit Renown’s website. For b-roll on this story, please click here. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org
New, virtual community gatherings from ‘The Hello Project’ help older adults stay connected and informed during uncertain times. When The HELLO Project received a BUILD Health Challenge grant back in November to address social isolation and loneliness amongst elderly adults in Reno, they had no idea how timely and relevant the program would be. Rising to the challenge, The HELLO Project has fast-tracked programs to engage and enrich the lives of older adults sheltering in place. It Starts with Hello, The Hello Project’s bi-weekly virtual community gathering place, takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, and people can attend by calling in or joining on their computer via Zoom (See viewing information here). Each show will feature a timely topic, factual information, a chance to chat with others in the community, and ends with some good news – The Daily Dandelion. The first episodes of the virtual series featured Dr. Coard from Renown Health’s Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health and Addiction Institute. During these informative sessions, Dr. Coard discussed anxiety and helpful strategies to deal with the stress of this pandemic. The HELLO Project also produced a four-page resource guide to direct the community to resources for staying socially engaged during these challenging times. “While we keep referring to this period of isolation as social distancing, it really should be thought of as physical distancing,” said Kindle Craig, Director of Renown Health’s Healthy Aging Institute. “Yes, to keep each other safe we need to keep our physical distance, but there is no reason we have to be socially isolated. In fact, now, more than ever, it’s important that we foster our social connections. It Starts with Hello is about just that - we feature local experts talking about everything from mental health to nutritious cooking, and then we open it up and allow time for community conversation.” A partnership between Truckee Meadows Healthy Communities, Renown Health, and the Washoe County Health District, The HELLO Project, formerly known as CARE, was initially started due to the rate of suicide in Washoe County. “Washoe County’s suicide rate is twice the national average for people 65 and older, and four times the national average for people 85 and older¹,” said Sharon Zadra, executive director of Truckee Meadows Healthy Communities. “We couldn't ignore the statistics. We had to try a new approach.” For more information on It Starts with Hello and how to join the conversation, please visit www.hellostartsnow.org and enter your email address. From there, you will receive information on how to attend the virtual community gatherings. ### About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org. About Truckee Meadows Healthy Communities Truckee Meadows Healthy Communities is a collaborative of thought leaders and influencers who seek to make an impact on the health of their community. The collaborative seeks to build a model where all community members strive toward a culture of health in the Truckee Meadows. This model will include the intersection of the health, education and community development sectors in our region. Truckee Meadows Healthy Communities seeks to create a healthier community through a collective impact project. About the Washoe County Health District The Washoe County Health District has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here. Source: 1. Washoe Region Behavioral Health Profile, (2018). Figure 54: Death Due to Suicide/Intentional Self-Harm by Age Group, Washoe County, Nevada, and United States, 2012-2016 Aggregate Data: pp. 42.