Our client Jessica lives with kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, and colon cancer. Jessica is also a double kidney recipient. She first learned about Food Outreach’s nutrition services from her oncology social worker, who provided a referral.
“Being connected with Food Outreach has been a great help,” said Jessica. “I can’t work full-time with my health condition, and even though I’m on disability, I don’t qualify for a lot of programs because I’m not 65. In fact, as soon as I qualified for disability benefits, I got kicked off SNAP.”
A reality for many individuals living with debilitating illness, Jessica describes the vicious cycle of economic instability and its impact on health: treatment costs money, and while you are ill, you can’t work. Survival becomes a delicate balancing act, forcing difficult choices between purchasing healthy nutrition and paying for healthcare, housing, utilities, medicine, and more. “[Social service agencies] see that you’re a single person with a modest income, but they don’t include your daily expenses. Those factors aren’t considered,” explained Jessica. “Last week, I had to see two doctors, and my co-pay was $75. I go to doctors every week. It’s hard to manage and almost impossible to [pay for] follow a diet that is healthy for you and your condition.”
With Food Outreach, Jessica has improved access to healthy foods like whole grains, lean proteins, heart-healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. These nutrients are required to protect our bodies and offer resistance to different diseases. “Food Outreach is a great program and helps people with medical conditions be able to eat healthy and have a satisfying meal. The selection has been really good. I have fresh vegetables and fruit. There’s garlic and onions. Green pepper, tomatoes, pears. Great turkey products and prepared foods!”
Following her first appointment with one of our dietitians, Jessica admitted feeling more knowledgeable and confident about the best options for her nutritionally. “Fiber is important for someone like me, but I’m not really a bean person,” Jessica said. “Taylor helped me identify other foods, high in fiber, that I can add to my diet.”
Food Outreach is committed to providing and delivering medically tailored meals and nutrition supporting services to our clients to help enhance their quality of life and well-being. Our health-promoting services meet individual clients’ dietary requirements and are tailored to their specific health conditions. In addition to the dietetic counseling and nutritional education, Jessica has found Food Outreach’s prepared meals have helped her stay healthy and satisfied. “The weeks I have chemo, I don’t want to cook, and I don’t want to eat fast food, which isn’t good for you,” said Jessica. “I can take one of the [Food Outreach] meals from the freezer, and I have something that tastes good and is good for me. Food Outreach has helped me maintain my strength.”