Lawrence + Memorial and Westerly hospitals participate in #GiveHealthy effort

WESTERLY – Yale New Haven Health recently finished its participation by collecting thousands of pounds of food for a healthy food drive as part of the #GiveHealthy Movement.

The goal was to provide fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthy food items to help hunger organizations throughout the state and region during winter months when there are usually fewer donations.

In total, Yale New Haven Health collected more than 22,550 pounds of food – the same as 18,792 meals – during three months of the drive, according to a news release.

Donating food is one of the most popular forms of giving in the U.S., as more people donate food than watch the Super Bowl each year. However, traditional food drives are limited to nonperishable donations, often highly processed, nutrient-deficient food, according to the release.

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“Food insecurity has always been a problem for people in our communities, but COVID-19’s economic impact has pushed more people to food banks to feed themselves and their families,” said Darcy Cobbs-Lomax, director of health equity and community impact for Yale New Haven Health. “YNHHS staff have historically been very generous in support of their neighbors, and this was another example.”

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital collected 4,727 pounds of food, the same as 3,939 meals, that was donated to F.R.E.S.H. New London in New London, Conn., which is a community group dedicated to building and sustaining a healthy and just food system.

Westerly Hospital collected 1,579 pounds of food, the same as 1,316 meals, and donated to the Pantry of the Lane, which is operated by the Joy Fellowship Church.

“Access to fruits and vegetables makes a huge difference in the quality of food we can offer our clients,” said Alicia McAvay, co-director of administration for F.R.E.S.H. New London. “We serve over 400 families a week, making it hard to ensure we have enough fresh, healthy food for everyone. Programs like this help us get high-quality food in the hands of more New London families.”

The #GiveHealthy initiative was designed to raise awareness that hunger is a health issue and to highlight the kinds of food that should be donated. The effort was developed by Wholesome Wave, WhyHunger, Foodtank, Ashley Koff Approved and Amp Your Good, and national partners included The Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Yale New Haven Health’s drive was developed and organized through a systemwide collaboration among community health improvement; community and government relations; diversity, equity and inclusion; human resources; marketing and communications; and food and nutrition.

Katie Castellani is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Castellani@PBN.com