A new pilot project gives local low-income diabetics what they need: fresh food.
Food Lifeline and Sea Mar Community Health Centers formed the partnership. On Saturday, dozens of Sea Mar clients with Type II diabetes took part in the food giveaway in Burien.
“Their food stamp or SNAP benefits run out before the end of the month,” said Linda Nageotte, president and CEO of Food Lifeline. “If you look at the rates of hospital admissions due to uncontrolled blood sugar due to diabetes, more often that happens toward the end of the month when folks have run out of food.”
She said that’s when those clients opt for lower cost fast food, said Nageotte.
To get the fresh fruits and vegetables, Sea Mar patients were recently screened by healthcare professionals.
“What we want to do as a provider is to advocate for our patients to make those changes first before we try to consider any medication,” said Vanessa Melendez, a Sea Mar nurse practitioner.
Federico Martinez-Chavez collected apples, cabbage, onions, and bell peppers.
“It’s a big help with my family because sometimes we don’t have much money,” said Chavez, who said most of his money goes to his mother and siblings in Mexico.
The patients will receive fruits and vegetables twice a month. Food Lifeline will look to expand the program if it's successful.