Special Blog Post By: Mark Kokoletsos, Partnership Manager, Second Harvest.

On Tuesday, December 5, Second Harvest, in partnership with the Fair Oaks Health Center and Sequoia Healthcare District, held the grand opening of a new Wellness Pantry in San Mateo County at The Salvation Army – Redwood City. The Wellness Pantry is geared toward low-income individuals that have one or more of five health conditions: prediabetes, gestational diabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. This program was created to help improve a patient’s medical condition in conjunction with medical services provided by their doctor. It has been proven that access to healthier and nutritious foods can lead to patients having improved health, lowering their medical costs (less medication, time spent in the hospital), and can allow them to be more physically active.

The clinic serves an estimated 7,000 adult patients. A rough estimate of how many people might seek out the Wellness Pantry is about 800 – 1,750 people. Food insecurity screenings at the clinic also address the food needs of all patients. When a patient is screened by their medical provider, and it is determined they do not have any of the five predetermined medical conditions, they will receive a referral to another great Second Harvest food program with healthy food near their residence.

Anyone who meets the specified criteria brings the referral form that they received from the Fair Oaks Health Clinic to the Salvation Army. The recipient is then provided nutrition education and advice before receiving multiple bags of fresh produce and other healthy food items such as milk, eggs, whole chicken, quinoa, brown rice and tofu.

 We’re absolutely thrilled about this launch and can’t wait to grow the program as the year progresses!