Boston, MA - Partners HealthCare and its founding hospitals, Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals, are helping health centers provide quality, coordinated care that includes filling in the hunger gap and making sure patients have enough to eat.
Starting this month, Partners is offering hunger assistance grants to 20 affiliated community health centers (CHC) throughout the greater Boston region. The $10,000 initiative will provide twenty (20) mini grants of $500 each and can be used in ways the individual health centers determine are best for the families they serve. Some health centers intend to use the grants to distribute Thanksgiving baskets, while others will use the additional resources to provide emergency food assistance in the form of supermarket gift cards.
Many families look to health centers for help in alleviating issues of food insecurity. The right quantity and quality of food is essential for good health.
Since the economic downturn of 2008, many Massachusetts families have struggled to make ends meet and providing adequate meals has become an additional source of stress. According to the Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts 2012, the state’s annual report on hunger, over 750,000 people in Massachusetts are at risk for hunger. The rate of hungry families has grown by over 43% since the onset of the recession with 11.8% of Massachusetts families presently experiencing some form of food insecurity. Moreover, SNAP benefits were reduced, and over 470,000 Massachusetts residents will see their monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefit cut; many health center patients will be impacted by the decrease in their monthly benefit.
“Health centers play an essential role in the community and understand their patients’ needs, including the need for hunger assistance. This is an important effort and it aligns with Partners’ commitment to providing comprehensive care to all of the patients and communities we serve,” said Matt Fishman, Vice President for Community Health at Partners HealthCare.
About Partners HealthCare
Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system includes community and specialty hospitals, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health-related entities. Partners is one of the leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization.