When is food medicine?
The program aims to tackle food insecurity and chronic illnesses
BY MELISSA AZOFEIFA SUFFOLK TIMES STAFF WRITER
Southold’s Center for Advocacy, Support, and Transformation is partnering with Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport to combat health inequity and food insecurity.
The “Food as Medicine” program connects qualified hospital patients to CAST, giving them access to the nonprofit’s food pantry and other services. The partnership is part of an effort by hospitals nationwide to improve health equity in their communities.
“This initiative is not just about food access; it’s about health intervention,” said Karina Hayes, manager of CAST’s food relief program.
The initiative is aimed at addressing – and preventing – chronic health conditions among CAST clients and in the community, according to executive director Cathy Demeroto.
“We want to ensure we are providing, through our food relief programs, nutrition that not only addresses the immediate hunger and food insecurity but will prevent or help with any chronic illnesses that our clients are experiencing,” Ms. Demeroto said.
Every SBELIH patient is screened for food insecurity and, if deemed at risk, receives a tote bag of food from the hospital’s food pantry when they are discharged.