University Hospital UH Food for Life Market provides healthy food

Will Kreznick

The community has a new outlet where they can receive healthy food and sound advice on how to prepare it at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center’s new Food for Life Market. Qualifying patients who are food insecure can come to the market and get a variety of fresh produce, canned goods, […]

The community has a new outlet where they can receive healthy food and sound advice on how to prepare it at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center’s new Food for Life Market.

Qualifying patients who are food insecure can come to the market and get a variety of fresh produce, canned goods, protein and dairy. 

“As many of you know, coronavirus has hit everyone very hard,” University Hospitals Portage Medical Center President Bill Benoit said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday. “It is especially difficult for those who suffer from the many social determinants of health. Here in the county, we’ve struggled, as well.”

More:Allen Chapel AME in Ravenna reaching out to families in need of help

Benoit said 16.2% of the county is considered food insecure, a 30% increase from before the pandemic. 

UH doctors have determined that repeated or prolonged food insecurity can “have negative health consequences,” he added.

University Hospitals Portage Medical Center President Bill Benoit thanked staff who helped make the hospital's Food for Life Market a reality at a small ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.

According to Anne Leach, director of clinical and community nutrition for UH, people who have not had enough food in the last 12 months and not had the means to get more would qualify to use the hospital’s Food for Life Market. 

Benoit said it’s modeled after a similar clinic at UH’s Otis Moss Jr. Health Clinic in Cleveland. 

More:Local food pantry seeks community help in funding new building

“We asked for their assistance, and they helped us create the program we have have here today,” he said. 

The market includes a variety of canned vegetables but also includes fresh produce.

Leach said patients get referrals from general practitioners and can then come to the market, where a dietician helps them make healthy food choices. 

“Patients are screened for food insecurity, get a referral and can come once a month for up to six months for a weeks worth of groceries for a family of up to four,” she explained. 

If, at the end of six months, they’re still food insecure, they can get referred again by a physician.

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