st. Peter’s, Food Share launches pioneering healthy food program | Sweetened

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Sharon Tatum says she doesn’t know what she would do without her.

She is one of 10 people participating in the Food is Care program recently launched by the St.

“If they weren’t there for me to use, I don’t know where I would be today,” 62-year-old Tatum said Thursday after receiving a box of frozen meat, ghee, eggs, milk, carrots and yellow pepper. crackers and oatmeal.

She said she receives $20 a month in food stamps, “and it helps.”

Food is Care connects people with diet-sensitive health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, with food boxes that contain items to help them manage or improve their health. It takes advantage of the skills of both groups.

All food included in the packs is donated to Helena Food Share.

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Peter’s Care team members and other local medical clinics refer home-based patients with complex medical conditions to the free program by assessing their access to appropriate food.

Every two weeks, Helena Food Share, in collaboration with caregivers in St. Peter’s, lunch boxes for program participants. Peter’s Health Team members, ambulances or community paramedics deliver packages to participants’ homes.

Tatum is cared for by St. Peter’s primary care provider, Dr. Michael Biddle, who is a participant in the programme.

She has celiac disease and said that her providers go to great lengths to ensure she has gluten-free items in her packets, such as cereal and pasta. She also has several other health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.

St Peter’s officials said that effective management of these health concerns requires a balanced, nutritious, specialized diet.

“A lot of times I wouldn’t have food at all if they didn’t come to deliver it to me,” Tatum said. “It’s a great service.”

Kim Dale, Helena’s Food Sharing Program Operations Manager, said the partnership with St. Peter helps ensure the sustainability of existing programmes.

“We are excited and hope that this program will grow to reach more people at risk in our community who struggle to get food while managing complex medical conditions,” Dale said Wednesday in a press release. “It’s clear that we are stronger together when we share in serving the real needs in our community.”

St. Peter’s Primary Care physician Dr. David Krenacker has over 50 hours of training in culinary medicine.

“Food is a powerful tool for everyone, especially individuals with chronic health conditions,” Krainacker said. “Continuous access to the nutritious foods, the medical care they need, and guidance on how to live a healthier lifestyle creates the perfect prescription for managing complex health conditions.”

Peter Cloninger, director of clinical care, who is a registered nurse, works with Tatum to coordinate her treatment plans and continually assess her access to appropriate food.

“We are offering low-sodium options to address her other health concerns, focusing on meats like chicken or fish, not cured pork or other meat products,” Cloninger said.

Tatum said she hopes to continue the pilot so that other people who need the program can get help, too.

Since 2019, St. Peter’s has partnered with Helena Food Share to grow their own healthy food initiative, stocking pantry shelves and coolers with a greater variety and more consistent offerings of fresh, locally grown produce, lean meats, and healthy grains.

Recently, the two organizations also received a food farm grant for blood pressure/cholesterol through the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services’ Cardiovascular Health Program.

Funds from this scholarship will focus on creating educational materials along with food preparation tips, sample recipes, and cooking tips/presentations that can be used in Food is Care and beyond.

Associate Editor Phil Drake contributed to this story. He is at philip.drake@helenair.com or 406-231-9021.

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