Backed by our mission of supporting the overall health and well-being of those in the community, Gateway Health recently collaborated with the Allegheny Health Network’s (AHN) Healthy Food Center to coordinate a kitchen utensils and supplies drive.
Regular access to freshly prepared, healthy food options may be something that many take for granted and do not have to think twice about. However, there continue to be those in the community – especially individuals in lower income areas – who unfairly face challenges with obtaining food options that meet their dietary and budgetary needs to stay healthy.
In fact, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Limited access to supermarkets, supercenters, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food may impede the ability of some Americans to achieve a healthy diet.”
For patients at AHN who are screened as being food insecure by their physician, they now have access to the AHN Healthy Food Center at West Penn Hospital. The first of its kind in our region, the Healthy Food Center acts as a “food pharmacy” where patients who lack access to food can receive nutritious food items, education on disease-specific diets and additional services for other social challenges they might face.
However, when the individual does finally gain access to healthy and affordable food, some may not have the tools and equipment to prepare the food. This was the opportunity identified by Colleen Ereditario, the Manager of the AHN Healthy Food Center.
Through discussions centered on our partnership with the AHN Healthy Food Center, the Gateway Health team recently hosted an on-site kitchen utensils and supplies collection at the Pittsburgh headquarters.
Through this initiative, the team was able to collect and donate approximately 300 pieces of kitchen items to the Healthy Food Center. Donated supplies from the Gateway team ranged from food preparation essentials, such as pots and plans to utensils and measuring cups.
“Corporate citizenship programs like this are really core to what we have been working toward at Gateway since our founding over 25 years ago,” said Regina Vercilla, Vice President of Clinical Strategy and Innovation. “Actively supporting the needs of our most vulnerable members of society is something we have a rich history of addressing. I am extremely proud of our team for their many generous contributions during the recent collection.”
Supplies were delivered on October 29 to the AHN Healthy Food Center. The AHN Healthy Food Center is a valuable resource for those in the community. They are committed to providing access to the food items that meet an individual’s specific dietary needs and that promote healthy eating habits.
Representatives from both Gateway and AHN were on-hand to participate in the delivery, including: Regina Vercilla, Vice President of Clinical Strategy and Innovation, Gateway Health, Jessica Cromer, Executive Director, HealthChoices, Gateway Health, Ron Andro, President, West Penn Hospital, Colleen Ereditario, Manager, AHN Healthy Food Center, Annette Fetchko, Regional Director, AHN Center for Inclusion Health, Stuart Fisk, CRNP, Director of the AHN Center for Inclusion Health, and Kate Hancock, Community Affairs Analyst for Allegheny Health Network.
“There are many individuals from our membership base and in the community who require additional assistance with getting the right foods and tools to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Regina. “These supplies are absolutely critical for preparing healthy, nutrient-rich meals. We thank our team for proactively stepping up to make a donation and support these efforts.”