January 2018 — Food insecurity is not only a national issue but a
state and local problem. In California, one in ten people are food insecure.
The USDA defines food insecurity as “the limited or uncertain availability
of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability
to acquire accessible foods in socially acceptable ways”. Food insecurity
triggers behaviors that exacerbate poor health and lifestyles. Research
connects food insecurity with chronic disease, hospitalizations, poor
disease management, developmental and mental health problems.
As a result of Rideout Health’s 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment,
it was determined that the second highest priority health need was the
lack of access to affordable, healthy foods. According to the report,
when access to healthy foods is challenging for community residents, many
turn to unhealthy foods that are convenient, affordable and readily available.
Many of these poor eating behaviors can lead to poor health outcomes which
may result in hospitalization due to diabetes, heart disease, hypertension
In November 2017, Rideout Health initiated a food insecurity screening
process for all inpatients. Patients are screened upon admission by the
case managers. If identified with food insecurity, a referral is submitted
to the local Yuba-Sutter Food Bank where volunteers gather a three-day
supply of specific food for each patient. This food is boxed and ready
for the patient upon discharge from the hospital. “We feel it is
important to use the resources that we have in our local community and
coordinate the food distribution sites with those in need. The Yuba-Sutter
Food Bank has been a great partner in our program. Since the program began,
we have made 59 referrals to the Food Bank and provided information to
other community food resources, such as the thirty-eight food/church pantries
and hot meal programs in Marysville and Yuba City”, stated Kristine
Cassidy, Director of Food and Nutrition/Nutrition Community Outreach.
In addition, Rideout’s commitment to this partnership with the local
Food Bank includes volunteering at the Food Bank warehouse once a month
and sponsoring food drives.
Rideout Health sponsored a holiday food drive from November 28 to December
15. There were six collection sites within our facilities. The non-perishable
food donations added up to more than 1,118 pounds of food! “Not
only are we identifying patients with food insecurity, but Rideout is
giving back to our community. The response from our employees has been
overwhelming. This is another example of how staff at Rideout gives to
those who are in need”, stated Kristine Cassidy.
In December 2017, Rideout employees volunteered 40 hours at the Food Bank
warehouse by doing jobs such as sorting donated food and clothing, bagging
USDA foods for 200 families and stocking shelves for the use of local
Future project growth of screening patients will include other departments
within Rideout Health, such as the emergency department, outpatient clinics/physician
offices and the cancer center.
Rideout Health staff join the “Food Insecurity” effort at the
local Yuba-Sutter Food Bank
Front: Waverly Manley - Second Row, L-R: Ashten Phillips, Theresa Howard,
Debbie Knight, Carla Benton, Katherine Willing, Theresa Hyer, Kristy Handy,
Tara DeAguiar, Cyndy Gordon
Back Row, L-R: Gino Patrizio, Shannon McRobb, Kelly England, Diane Moon,
Shawndel Meder, Daniel Chibaya, Kristine Cassidy, Ed Gonzalez