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Yale New Haven Health helps reduce hunger across our communities through #GiveHealthy initiative

Thursday, March 4, 2021

New Haven, CT (March 4, 2021) – Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS) recently concluded its employee driven healthy food donation program as part of the #GiveHealthy Movement. The goal was to provide fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy food items to help hunger-relief organizations throughout the state and region during the winter months when donations are fewer.

System wide, Yale New Haven Health collected over 22,550 pounds of food during two months of the #GiveHealthy drive. That equates to 18,792 meals.

Bridgeport Hospital collected 5,229 pounds of food equaling 4,358 meals. Local hunger relief organizations receiving food included the East End Food Bank and the Milford Food Pantry.“We would not be able to serve the community’s needs if it were not for the generosity of those like you that give,” said Elizabeth Robinson, East End Food Bank.

-Greenwich Hospital collected 2,823 pounds of food equaling 2,353 meals. Local hunger relief organizations receiving from the drive included Caritas of Port Chester, NY and Neighbor to Neighbor. “Winter is always a difficult time of year for families living in poverty,” said Bill; Cusano, executive director, Caritas of Port Chester. “Thank-you for all you are doing and your generosity.”

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital collected 4,727 pounds of food equaling 3,939 meals and was donated to F.R.E.S.H. New London, a community group dedicated to building and sustaining a healthy and just food system to establish community food security in Connecticut. “The generosity of staff will enable us to receive fresh fruits and vegetables for our weekly food distribution,” said Alicia Mcavay, director, F.R.E.S.H. New London.

Westerly Hospital collected 1,579 pounds of food equaling 1,316 meals and donated locally to the “Pantry of the lane” operated by the joy Fellowship Church. “The food that has been donated help[s us be successful in our work,” said Pastor Mark Benson, Pantry on the Lane.

Yale New Haven Hospital: 8,192 pounds of food equaling 6,827 meals. YNHH donated to 11 hunger relief organizations in the greater New Haven area through the Coordinated Food Assistance Network (CFAN). "As the cold weather lingers during this pandemic, resources remain stretched to the limit. More and more people come to the IRIS food pantry every week,” said a representative for the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS). “We are now regularly seeing well over 320 visitors each week. The donations from this drive will go a long way to helping us keep our pantry bags full of fresh and nutritious food. Thank you for supporting so many families in this very uncertain time."

“Food insecurity has always been a problem for people in our communities, but COVID-19’s economic impact has meant that even more people can’t afford enough food to feed themselves and their families,” said Nancy Hamson, system director, Community Health Improvement, YNHHS. “In response, YNHHS was very eager to collaborate with our partners at #GiveHealthy with our first online food drive. We invited employees and medical staff throughout YNHHS to support hunger-relief organizations in the communities where they live and/or work.

The employee food drive was conducted through #GiveHealthy, an organization that provides an online platform for hunger-relief organizations to set up “registries” listing items they need. YNHHS employees, departments and medical staff supported one or more hunger-relief organizations in YNHHS delivery networks’ communities. Because the food was shipped from suppliers directly to hunger-relief organizations, donors were able to purchase healthy food items, including fresh produce.”

“The 42 million plus people struggling with food insecurity also face high rates of diet related health issues – things like obesity, diabetes, cancer – due to a lack of access to healthy food. A lot of food that gets donated actually worsens these health conditions. What was needed were healthy food donations and that was our goal from the beginning,” said Augusta Mueller, community benefit manager, Yale New Haven Health. “#GiveHealthy enables people to donate fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy food to improve the health of our communities.”

YNHHS’ drive was developed and organized through a system-wide collaboration among Community Health Improvement, Community and Government Relations, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications and Food and Nutrition.

Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS), the largest and most comprehensive healthcare system in Connecticut, is recognized for advanced clinical care, quality, service, cost effectiveness and commitment to improving the health status of the communities it serves. YNHHS includes five hospitals – Bridgeport, Greenwich, Lawrence + Memorial, Westerly and Yale New Haven hospitals, several specialty networks and Northeast Medical Group, a non-profit medical foundation with several hundred community-based and hospital-employed physicians. YNHHS is affiliated with Yale University and Yale Medicine, the clinical practice of the Yale School of Medicine and the largest academic multi-specialty practice in New England. Yale New Haven Hospital is the primary teaching hospital of Yale School of Medicine.

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