Grantee Spotlight: Second Harvest Heartland

Food as Medicine:  FOODRx to the Rescue

Your pill bottle says:  Take with food.

But what if you don’t have food at home?

Thousands of Minnesotans with health issues face dilemmas like these.  Through the new FOODRx program, the George Family Foundation, Second Harvest Heartland and several area health care providers are working together to develop and test strategies to ensure that these types of situations no longer happen.

For example, a group of patients at CentraCare in St. Cloud, MN is receiving FOODRx food boxes that support healthy eating and the treatment of their diabetes or heart disease.  The boxes contain nutrient-rich foods that can be quickly prepared for tasty and healthy meals. 

“Research conducted through this project will measure changes in the health status of the participants,” said Jason Reed, Director of Strategy and New Ventures at Second Harvest Heartland.  “We see potential to not only reduce hunger for people, but to improve their health and potentially even reduce health care costs over the long-term.” 

This pilot project is one of four related projects that will begin over the next six months.  On September 15, 2016 program donors and stakeholders came together at Second Harvest Heartland to celebrate the launch of FOODRx, and to pack food boxes to be distributed at the CentraCare clinic in St. Cloud.

“It’s been very rewarding to share the FOODRx food boxes with the patients,” said Reed. “Recipes included in the food boxes have been very well-received and the patients are excited to have the support of FOODRx as they work toward their health goals.”

A Registered Dietician selected healthy, easy-to-prepare foods for the FOODRx food boxes that are distributed to patients with diabetes.

Dozens of volunteers are enlisted each month to assemble FOODRx food boxes at Second Harvest Heartland.

On September 15, FOODRx stakeholders joined together for a program update and food box packing activity at Second Harvest Heartland.