In this bonus episode, we'll talk about the one thing you can do today to find a food bank, pantry or shelf in your area — or give back by donating time, items or dollars.
Speaker 1: Welcome back to another bonus episode of Until It's Fixed. I'm Kelly Chamberlain.
Speaker 2: And I'm Dr. Kenny Poole.
Speaker 1: As we cover ways to make healthcare work better for everyone, these bonus episodes will draw connections between the topic we recently discussed and our daily lives.
Speaker 2: We'll talk about one thing you and I can do today related to that topic, to take charge of our health and wellbeing.
Speaker 1: Welcome back everybody. Today's one thing is [00:00:30] how to locate or support a food bank or pantry in your area. Kenny, I don't know if you know this, but I just learned through a national survey that 68% of Americans experienced at least one unmet social need in the past year. And the way that they defined an unmet social need included things like transportation challenges, housing instability, or food insecurity.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And last week we talked with Christie Duffy from Optum Home and Community about the House Calls program. And you know, in addition to going into people's homes for annual wellness visits, the House [00:01:00] Calls program also provides referrals for these unmet social needs. And they do this because, as Christie said herself, we know that if basic needs like having food in the fridge aren't met, then the health needs are not gonna get met as well.
Speaker 1: I really appreciate that comment because it reminds me that we're all part of an ecosystem. And so when House Calls is making one of their 64,000 referrals that they made last year related to food insecurity, that request has to land somewhere. And that is reliant upon partnerships with community-based [00:01:30] organizations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations that will be able to provide the food to support people. And of course, these organizations don't just run themselves, right. They require financial donations to sustain themselves. They require items to be able to support people, and they also are reliant upon volunteering oftentimes. So it's a great way to get involved in the community and to support ensuring that people can have their needs met, which can have a profound impact.
Speaker 2: It does. [00:02:00] And you know, when I was thinking about my volunteering experience around food, I think about the Meals on Wheels program. Yeah. So when I was little in the summertimes or on break, I would stay with my grandmother during the day. And so probably once a week my grandmother, she would go to this based center in North St. Louis, load up her car full of meals and drinks. [00:02:30] And I used to always remember, like the drinks seemed very appealing, particularly on hot summer days in St. Louis where my grandmother didn't have the air condition cranked up. And we'd drive around North St. Louis in these neighborhoods that were certainly impoverished in high need, and my grandmother would deliver food. And as I got a little older, I, I would, you know, run some of the food up to the doors as well. And at the time, I never even knew the significance of it, but as I got older, I realized the importance of community. Right? And the importance [00:03:00] of organizations like Meals on Wheels and some of the other organizations that we'll reference later in terms of really coming together and taking care of people and helping that part of their health be improved.
Speaker 1: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, what I think about, and I love these stories too, and what I'm thinking about is like how toward the end of my grandmother's life, we were reliant upon Meals on Wheels to come provide meals to her, and how important that was for my family because we were coordinating so much of her care [00:03:30] and it was one less thing for us to think about. And it was great to have people come into her home and make sure that she was supported and also really took a lot of responsibility off of the plate of my parents. So I love that you referenced that story with your grandmother, because I was also with my grandmother, sort of like on the other side receiving what it was that you were doing with yours. So I think all of these examples are really important and great ways that potentially inspire you all to get involved in your community.
Speaker 1: [00:04:00] Yep. And whether that's Meals on Wheels or something else, there's so many ways that you can get involved. And one of the things that you can do right now is to support your local food pantry. For example, you can clean out your home pantry for non-perishable goods. So that can include things like canned items, pasta, rice, cereal, condiments, other pantry staples that don't need to be refrigerated. I know for a lot of local organizations, they'll also post online specific items that they might need support with. And oftentimes [00:04:30] my experience is that those are more culturally sensitive items so that the people that they're servicing also have access to the foods that they're familiar with and enjoy. So that might be an additional thing to kind of just be aware of some donation centers. Also accept personal care and household items, even pet food. So, you know, check out their website and see what items are gonna be most helpful for them.
Speaker 2: Yeah. I think another thing to note, particularly around the winter holidays, partner with food banks and sponsor families, or sponsor dinners [00:05:00] or sponsor meals, much in the way in which you talked about or do little drives themselves. There are a lot of other ways that people can help out as well. I mean, you can volunteer directly with the food pantry stock shelves, or collect food or focus on promotion so that people are aware of these different types of opportunities.
Speaker 1: And if you yourself need help or you know somebody who needs help, you can locate your local food pantry through national organizations like Feeding America or United Way two 11, as well as UnitedHealthcare [00:05:30] Healthier Lives. And we'll put links to these organizations in the show notes for easy access.
Speaker 2: Yep. And it's good for people to partner with schools, places of worship, community centers, or other places for support for their own needs or for the needs of others. And we wanna recognize that you can't rely on one part of society to solve any public health problem, right? Like we're all in this together. And so it's important for everybody to be involved when and how can
Speaker 1: Absolutely. Thank you everybody [00:06:00] for listening. Join us next week as we continue to talk more about meeting people where they're at through retail health and rural health.
Speaker 2: Make sure the followers subscribe wherever you listen so you can get notified when a new episode is live. Catch you next time.