Hunger is a health issue

Access to affordable, nutritious food is not a sure thing for 1 in 7 people in Washtenaw County. 11,000 of our kids struggle with hunger. September, this beautiful season of abundance, is Hunger Action Month - a time to reflect that amidst plenty, there is much need.

Food insecurity has an adverse impact on health. A person without access to good food has a doubled risk of type 2 diabetes, and probably struggles with obesity and hypertension. Food insecurity, chronic disease, and poor health outcomes form a vicious cycle, with constant stress at the very center. This is the life of many of our patients.

Packard Health links low-income patients to healthy food. In this month of Hunger Action, I want to tell you about our efforts, the collaboration of compassionate staff and generous community partners.

  • Patients at risk for food insecurity are assisted immediately at their office visit.
  • Our 2 food pantries (Main & West) offer a wide selection of nutritious food.
  • We help patients enroll in SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • Our Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator is a key member of our health care team, working with side-by-side with patients and providers.
  • Generous Food Gatherers delivers food (including fresh produce) on a weekly basis and stocking of our pantries is done by a team of wonderful volunteers.
  • Church of the Good Shepherd-UCC plants 9 raised beds and since 2009 we have received the veggie bounty. In winter we receive cases of fresh citrus.
  • Ann Arbor CROP Hunger Walk has selected us over many years as a local recipient for donations. CROP Walk is coming up September 25. Come out!
  • Via "Prescription for Health" of the Washtenaw County Health Dept., 60 low-income patients receive $100 in produce at the Ypsilanti Farmers Markets.
  • Our food pantry clients receive Good and Cheap:  Eating Well on $4 a Day cookbook thanks to donors who organized a drive and raised the funds.

I'm proud that Packard is helping to fight food insecurity in our community, and very appreciative of all who join in that important work.

In good health,

Ray Rion, MD, Executive Director