ProMedica hospital system treats hunger as a health issue

The Ohio-based nonprofit organizes food drives in schools, anti-hunger fundraising events and more.

TOLEDO, Ohio—One could call Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica hospital system a good neighbor. The non-profit is a driving force in building a new $1.5 million fresh produce-filled grocery store in one of the city’s so-called food deserts. Last year, ProMedica reclaimed tens of thousands of pounds of unserved food from a local casino; its 12 hospitals in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan repacked it into some 50,000 meals for hungry individuals. Last fall, the system began screening for food insecurity at some of its hospitals, signing up at-risk patients for food stamps or sending them home with emergency stashes of groceries upon discharge.

ProMedica is tackling hunger as a health issue. Last year, the integrated delivery system organized its growing anti-hunger efforts—including food drives in public schools, anti-hunger fundraising events with local restaurants and ensuring poorer students have healthy food on weekends—into the “Come to the Table” initiative. Since 2011, ProMedica has helped to provide 10.5 million meals to residents who are considered food insecure—those who lack resources to provide themselves with enough food.

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