The Albany General Hospital Foundation has established a fund to provide food to patients who may be food insecure. Eligible patients of all ages will receive backpacks filled with healthy and nutritious foods to help them heal from medical challenges while maintaining their health.
The Hayden Homes & First Story Backpack Fund was created by a generous partnership with the home construction company, which donated $25,000 to create the fund.
“Thanks to the Hayden Homes & First Story Backpack Fund, we now have a dedicated fund for the program and can increase our fundraising efforts to provide more sustainable funding and support to the Samaritan Albany General Hospital Food Backpack Program,” said Bobby Williams Herrera, senior development specialist at AGHF. “The program will continue to grow each year and the generous donations will allow the program to reach food insecure patients in Albany.”
In 2017, the SAGH Nutrition Services staff started a food box program in partnership with Stop Hunger to Accelerate Recovery to provide assistance to food insecure patients upon discharge from the hospital. In 2019, the program was expanded to include food insecure patients from Albany area Samaritan clinics.
“Over the last couple of years, Oregon Freeze Dried has generously donated freeze-dried food packs, while Altrusa International of Albany has lovingly assembled backpacks filled with a three-day supply of non-perishable foods, protein drinks and hygiene items,” said Williams Herrera. “Our Nutrition Services department steps in to provide the finishing touches, including two Oregon Freeze Dried food packs, juice boxes and a list of long-term community food resources.”
Food insecurity is the inability to access the food necessary to support a healthy, active life. It is associated with a variety of short-term and long-term physical and emotional illness. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that patients with acute and chronic diseases often require elevated calories, protein and micronutrients to maximize healing and promote chronic disease maintenance.
“Our goal is to ensure that every food insecure patient seeking medical care receives the essential nourishment necessary for healing and sustaining good health,” said Dan Keteri, vice president and CEO of SAGH. “By addressing this basic physiological need, we anticipate improved healing and health outcomes for these high-risk patients.”
In 2022, SAGH provided an average of 15 backpacks per month for a total of 185 backpacks. This year, they anticipate distributing nearly 250 backpacks across the hospital and surrounding clinics.
To learn about donating to the Hayden Homes & First Story Food Backpack fund visit, samhealth.org/Giving.