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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

SoutheastHEALTH Partners with Southeast Missouri Food Bank to Establish Hospital-Based Food Pantry

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SoutheastHEALTH
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SoutheastHEALTH Clinical Quality Analyst Tonya Meyer and Director of Case Management Dan Ryder with some of the food items in Southeast Hospital’s Patients Pantry, Heroes of Hope program.

The initiative, entitled ‘Patients Pantry, Heroes of Hope’, will provide patients with two weeks worth of groceries.

A recent study by the Bread for the World Institute found that hunger and food insecurity cost the U.S. economy more than $160 billion in poor health outcomes, an amount higher than all state and federal spending on higher education.

Food-insecure adults have annual health expenditures of more than $1,800 per person. Chronic illness, morbidity and mortality, low-birth-weight infants, and more frequent neonatal births, hospitalizations, and lengths of stay are also associated with poor nutrition.

On Friday, SoutheastHEALTH announced a partnership with the Southeast Missouri Food Bank to open a food pantry at Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau.

The initiative, entitled ‘Patients Pantry, Heroes of Hope’, will provide patients with two weeks worth of groceries.

Director of Case Management Dan Ryder explains that when patients have to choose between paying for food or paying for medication they are more likely to choose food, sacrificing their health.

“If people have to choose between the worst food ever, or medications, they are always gonna choose the worst food because hunger is huge,” said Ryder. The goal is to provide them with the food, so that that's just one thing they're not worried about doing when they leave the hospital, then it helps them be able to afford their medications and take that worry off their plate.”

The project was made possible by a grant from the Healthcare Services Group Charitable Foundation, providing the pantry with $25,000 in funding.

Under the program, SoutheastHEALTH will screen patients to determine food insecurity issues.

Those who are identified will receive a box of food to take home with them upon discharge.

Individuals declared food insecure will also be connected to other food assistance services the food bank provides, such as access to the food pantry network, enrollment for a monthly senior food box, or help applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

On Friday, the bank also approved the addition of Brian Crowe to the Board of Directors.

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SEMO Food Bank
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Previously, Crowe worked as Senior Manager of the Tyson Foods grow-out facilities in Dexter for 20 years.

Tyson Foods has been a longtime partner with the food bank, providing additional grant funding and other donations for programs to feed families facing hunger.

Daria Lawson is a 2021 Graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, with a Minor in Music.