Preventive Food Pantry: A Place for Patients to get their Thanksgiving Meal
Thanksgiving is a time for families to gather around the dinner table, tell stories, and reflect on what they are most thankful for. Patients who have picked up food from the Preventive Food Pantry at least three times this year can come in to pick up their Thanksgiving meal. "Last year we distributed 850 Thanksgiving packages to families at BMC. Those packages include a turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, butternut squash, mac & cheese, and cake mix," said Latchman Hiralall, Food Pantry Manager.
This is an exciting time for the Preventive Food Pantry, as it will soon move into a new, larger space on campus that will offer far more space for food storage. The pantry was first opened in the Dowling Building in 2001. At that time, it supplied food to 500 families per month; but today, the Food Pantry serves 7,000 patients each month.
Last year, BMC's Preventive Food Pantry supplied more than 570,000 pounds of food to more than 81,000 people in the Boston area; that's 50,000 pounds per month. To access the service, BMC patients must obtain a referral through a screening process performed by their BMC primary care physician, which includes an individual's special nutritional needs and the number of people in their household. Every time a patient visits the food pantry, a note is made in their medical record. When a patient arrives at the pantry, their food options have been pre-selected based on the family's dietary restrictions. Equipped with this game plan, they can choose from options which include meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables that are on their list of healthy options.
Patients can visit the Food Pantry twice a month, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. On those visits, they will receive up to four days' worth of food per household. Donated by a number of different organizations, the Greater Boston Food Bank provides the majority of the food – 12,000 pounds each week – while a garden on the hospital's rooftop, run by the Boston Natural Area Network, supplies the Food Pantry with fresh produce.
To schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, call 617.414.5951. To learn more about the Food Pantry, visit their webpage.
To learn more about how to take action against hunger, visit feedingamerica.org/take-action/campaigns/hunger-action-month.