Food Rx: Sutter Health Invests $265,000 to Support Community Food Banks
Working with partners to provide nutritious food is one more way Sutter helps keep communities healthy.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is known for feeding the country, yet on any given day, one in eight Californians don’t have enough nutritious food to support a healthy lifestyle. The technical term for this is food insecurity but most people call it hunger.
Building and sustaining strong, healthy communities begins with putting wholesome food on the table. We are proud to work with our community partners to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors who experience hunger.Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health.
Today Sutter Health announced more than a quarter-million-dollar donation to 32 food banks, food kitchens and free pantries across Northern California and in Oregon and Hawaii. The donation by the not-for-profit health network assists local groups with providing free healthy meals or bags of food to those in need.
“Building and sustaining strong, healthy communities begins with putting wholesome food on the table,” said Sarah Krevans, president and CEO of Sutter Health. “We are proud to work with our community partners to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors who experience hunger.”
Sutter Health’s investment in community food banks over the past 11 years has totaled more than $2.7 million— helping to nourish individuals and families.
Proper Diet is Paramount to Health
“Hunger and inadequate nutrition can have a lifelong impact on health and wellness,” said Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice-president and chief medical officer of Sutter Health. “The most common chronic illnesses of our time — obesity, diabetes, heart disease —can be linked to diet and lack of access to healthy foods.”
A balanced diet supports a host of long-term health benefits, from disease prevention to faster healing and mental wellness, but food can have more immediate implications, too.
“Food changes how some medications work in the body because you absorb your prescription differently if you are also metabolizing a meal,” said Kathy Exum, registered nurse and diabetes educator with Sutter Health. “In the case of insulin, your dose is determined by your blood sugar, so if you don’t eat regularly, you could risk having severe low blood sugar. On the other hand, healthy food choices and good eating habits can help regulate your blood sugar levels.” Sutter’s integrated network features registered nurses, registered dieticians, nutritionists and health educators (including certified diabetes educators) in each of the communities it serves to help patients with medically tailored meal planning, including the education and referrals necessary to stick to dietary goals.
Sutter Health is Committed to Communities
Sutter Health’s food bank donation builds on the organization’s previous investments in healthy eating and nutrition, including farmers’ markets that are hosted at some Sutter hospitals. “There are many ways we show our neighbors that we care about their overall health and wellness,” said Dave Cheney, CEO of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. “By hosting farmers’ markets we offer farm fresh food to visitors, patients and staff. Open to the public, these markets reinforce our dedication to improving health both inside and outside the walls of our hospitals.”
As a not-for-profit, Sutter Health is committed to communities, investing more than $734 million in community benefits in 2018. These funds supported health education, community clinics, traditional charity care and unreimbursed Medi-Cal costs. For more information about Sutter’s investment into Northern California communities, visit Sutter Health’s Community Benefit page.