Virtua Food Pantry

Providing a “food as medicine” approach to healthcare.

The healing power of a nourishing meal cannot be overstated. Research has shown that a healthy diet and exercise can be just as important as medications. For instance, eating nutritious foods can help regulate blood sugar and prevent complications associated with diabetes and high blood pressure. Additionally, a healthy diet can help to reduce the occurrence and severity of obesity and depression. These are just a few of the reasons why physicians emphasize the importance of healthy eating habits and their impact to our overall health and well-being.

Yet for our most vulnerable patients, who struggle financially, when faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to fill a needed prescription or to buy nutritious foods, it becomes much harder to make healthy choices. With little or no access to affordable and nutritious foods it can be unrealistic to focus on improving eating habits at all. Recent studies have shown that food insecurity, a known social determinant of health, directly impacts the rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. As a result, many of our local residents who are struggling financially turn to Virtua not only for medical care but also for other assistance.

In the summer of 2018, Virtua launched its new Food Pantry Program to help address this tremendous need. Unlike traditional food pantries, this program has been designed to address the specific needs of patients who experience chronic disease and food insecurity. This unique program, which incorporates a holistic, “food as medicine” approach to patient care, is only the sixth of its kind in the U.S.

Established as a partnership between Virtua, Virtua Foundation and the Food Bank of South Jersey, the Food Pantry Program now enables clinicians across Virtua to refer food insecure patients to the onsite pantry located at Virtua Memorial. At the Food Pantry, patients are provided with enough groceries to prepare a week’s worth of nutritious meals and can meet with registered dietitians and licensed clinical social workers on an on-going basis, who empower them with the knowledge and resources needed to make healthy dietary choices. A second pantry location is slated to open at the Virtua Family Health & Wellness Center in Camden in early 2019.

Virtua’s Food Pantry Program is helping to pave the way toward a healthier community by reducing rates of chronic disease and food insecurity among our most vulnerable patients. Over time, it will enable us to help decrease rates of obesity, pre-diabetes, diabetes and hypertension across our region by providing fresh, healthy food to those in critical need.

With the help of your philanthropic dollars, Virtua Foundation will continue to support this vital program and ensure that the communities we serve have access to the foods needed to be well, get well and stay well.

Virtua Foundation

303 Lippincott Drive, 4th Floor
Marlton, NJ 08053
Phone: 856-355-0830

Fax: 856-355-0831
vhf@virtua.org

 

 

Virtua Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to enhancing Virtua's mission through philanthropy.

 

Copyright 2017 Virtua Foundation