Thursday, January 23, 2014

CoxHealth employees help stock local food pantries with healthy options

Annual event raises more than 4,000 pounds of food

Increasing numbers of individuals and families across the Ozarks are relying on food pantries to meet their daily food needs. However, much of the food that is available is highly processed and contains large amounts of sugar, salt and fat rather than the building blocks of a healthy diet.

For the second year in a row, CoxHealth staff in Springfield, Branson and Monett pulled together to address this issue during the CoxHealth “Pack the Pantries” healthy food drive. In total, more than 4,000 pounds of food was donated – and all of it healthy. Employees donated items such as whole wheat pastas, low-sodium soups, canned fruits packed in fruit juice, and much more.

“We know that obesity, heart disease and diabetes are leading health issues in our community,” said Glenda Miller, CoxHealth collaborative care coordinator and food drive organizer. “By donating healthy foods to our local pantries, we are helping not only provide much needed food for our friends and neighbors, but also supporting those who wish to eat a heart-healthy diet.”

Miller says the food drive also serves another purpose – helping keep the health system’s patients healthy. “Many of our patients rely on food pantries. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for these patients to be discharged healthy from the hospital, only to again require hospitalization because the foods they have access to have aggravated their medical conditions.”

Food donated in Springfield and Monett was provided to Crosslines in both communities. Food donated in Branson was provided to the pantries operated by Christian Associates in Stone County, and Christian Action Ministries in Taney County.