LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Baptist Health is launching a new program called Food Rx.
According to a news release sent Thursday, the health care system will open a food pantry on October 1. The food pantry will initially serve patients at Baptist Health- Little Rock, Baptist Health- North Little Rock and Baptist Health- Conway as well as three clinics. Officials say the goal is to expand Food Rx to other regions in the future.
“On any given day, there are a significant number of patients in Baptist Health hospitals and clinics who are in need of food and will return to a problem of food insecurity when they are discharged to their homes,” said Teresa Conner, system director of Baptist Health Community Outreach, which is coordinating the program. “Food Rx gives our patients facing these challenges the means to help change that.”
Baptist Health officials say they are setting out to make a positive impact in the lives of patients facing food security and contribute to better health for the state.
According to Baptist Health, Arkansas has the second-worst rate in the country for the percentage of people in the state facing the challenges of food insecurity.
As part of Food Rx, patients at Baptist Health’s hospitals in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway will be screened by nurses at bedside or through MyChart assignment to identify those in need of food, according to the news release. The patients will then be eligible to receive a bag of food from the pantry when they head home.
Baptist Health officials say in addition to the three-day supply of food patients will receive from the food pantry, they will also receive a resource list of other food pantries and community services that can help them. Baptist Health dietitians will also give them healthy recipes and instructions on how to make meals stretch.
Baptist Health Foundation will play a role in securing donations for the program.
According to Baptist Health officials, Bank of America has already contributed $15,000 toward the effort.
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