In 2017, Dare to Care began a pilot program to improve clients’ health in a medical setting.
Through the Prescriptive Pantry program, Dare to Care partners with health clinics to provide nutritious food items to food-insecure families. Offering nutritious food helps physicians address medical problems and meet the whole health needs of their patients.
Physicians at participating health clinics ask families about their food security and offer pantry food to those who need it. Talking about food in a medical setting allows physicians to educate families about wellness and healthy eating by providing nutritious food to take home.
A participating pediatric provider shared, “Addressing social determinants of health is crucial to providing quality care to patients and families. Providing food immediately to families who have food insecurity is a tangible means of meeting a need that can have long-lasting effects; persistent hunger and malnutrition can negatively affect children’s growth, brain development, and school performance. By providing food to families in need and connecting those families to other resources, we can help buffer negative long-term health risks. Too often, the social ills our families face can be overwhelming. Consequently, we may think that no significant worthwhile difference can be made unless we have substantial changes of culture and systems. However, now, we can be effectors of change daily. Through our partnership with Dare to Care, we can demonstrate compassion concretely.”
Dare to Care purchases all items distributed at prescriptive pantries to ensure food meets nutritional guidelines. Examples of food items provided include: Canned vegetables, fruits in 100% fruit juice, multi-grain cereal, oats, canned tuna, whole wheat pasta, low-sodium chicken broth, and peanut butter.