Sharing is Caring

Boone Health partners with the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri to provide “Share Boxes” for patients indicating food insecurity.

All Boone Health inpatients indicating food insecurity are now offered a box of food called a “Share Box” to bring home with them, thanks to a new partnership with the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

The Boone Health Disparities Team meets regularly to discuss reducing healthcare disparities for the hospital’s patients, something that is also a Joint Commission requirement. The group assessed six potential Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) from January -July 2023. Food insecurity was identified as a leading disparity.

“Our committee developed a subgroup to identify resources to support food insecurity. As the subgroup continued to meet and have discussions, a partnership with the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri emerged as a good fit for both parties to help meet their missions and serve people in the community with identified food insecurity needs,” says committee member Clinical Nutrition and Diabetes Manager Janet Kimmons.

The group worked with the Food Bank to come up with a program.

“We looked at what some other hospitals are doing to help solve food insecurity with their patients and began to develop our own program. Upon admittance to the hospital, a patient indicates if they are experiencing food insecurity. They are then provided with a voucher for a Share Box upon discharge,” says committee member Social Work and Case Management Manager April Bernhardt.

Janet Kimmons and April Bernhardt

A Share Box is a box of non-perishable food items as well as information about community resources for longer-term food insecurity assistance. The Share Boxes are made by the Food Bank. Boone Health’s “Meet The Mission” community outreach committee got a group together and went to the Food Bank to assist in packing the boxes.

“We’ve had a great response from patients who have received the Share Boxes. They have been very grateful and encouraged by it,” says April.

The committee’s next steps are to provide “Share Backpacks” to the unhoused patients experiencing food insecurity.

“The Share Box items do require a kitchen to prep most of the food so we are working with the Food Bank right now to also have Share Backpacks to give to our unhoused patients indicating food insecurity. These would have items that do not require a kitchen to prep and also information about additional community resources for the unhoused,” says April.

The “Meet the Mission” committee also plans to continue to have volunteer events for the Food Bank and in the community.

Boone Health employees making Share Boxes at the Food Bank.

Another disparity found by the Boone Health Disparities Team was medication insecurity. The team currently works with the Boone Hospital Foundation to address that disparity.

“We have an ongoing program with the Boone Hospital Foundation where the foundation will cover the initial cost of patients experiencing medication insecurity when the medications are ordered through the Boone Plaza Pharmacy,” says April.

The Boone Hospital Foundation is donation-driven and funds go directly to patient care and staff education. Donations can be made by calling 573.815.2801.

By Madison Loethen