Health Center in Boston Providing Direct Delivery of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to Patients in Need

New Health’s Holistic Approach to Food Insecurity: Nourishing Patients and Community Members with Fresh Produce Bags

New Health, a Boston health center affiliated with Mass General Hospital and Boston Medical Center, is taking a holistic approach to food insecurity by providing fruits and vegetables directly to patients in need. This initiative began as a response to the growing need for food assistance in the community.

“This is supposed to be a holistic care approach that really takes the individual and provides them with the care and support that they need,” said Dan Coakley, public affairs coordinator for New Health. The program distributes bags of fresh produce once a month to patients who have been notified in advance. Each bag typically includes bananas, apples, oranges, avocados, asparagus, onions, and potatoes.

Coakley explained that each bag goes a long way and has helped many people in the community. “Patients have said to me ‘You don’t know how many people this helps.’ There was one patient in the North End that told me ‘I share this with people.’ So this is helping like 10 to 15 people every time we give them a bag of produce,” he said.

Once the patients on the list have received their food, any leftover produce is placed into a community refrigerator so that anyone in need can have it. “A lot of people in our community do need all of this help,” said patient Carmen Tirado. “The gratitude we get is tremendous and we just want to make sure we keep providing this resource to everyone.”

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