PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center is kicking off the new year with a new program to help patients and their families eat well.
Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 22, patients and visitors will find a small “farm stand” every Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. in the main lobby of the hospital, with fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits. The program, Trillium Produce Plus, will provide the produce free to anyone on the Oregon Health Plan or who qualifies for state or federal food assistance programs. However, no one will be turned away. The selection will vary from week to week, and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The program is a collaboration between PeaceHealth, Trillium Community Health Plan and FOOD for Lane County, with Trillium providing the majority of operational funding.
One in five children in Lane County live in households where having enough food is not a certainty. There is a clear link between food insecurity and health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, as well as learning and behavioral difficulties in children.
That’s why PeaceHealth has made family and childhood nutrition one of its highest priorities.
“We see the consequences of food insecurity and unhealthy diets every day,” said Jason Hawkins, chief administrative officer at Peace Harbor. “The fact is, cost can be a real barrier for families that are trying to eat healthy, well-balanced, nutrient-rich foods. The Trillium Produce Plus program is one small but significant way we can address these issues in our community. Our patients and families in need will know that every Tuesday, they can stop by our lobby between noon and 2 and find high-quality, wholesome vegetables and fruit to take home.”
If demand exceeds supply, he added, Peace Harbor will work with FOOD for Lane County to boost the weekly delivery load.
“We are committed to providing this produce to any of our families who have a need,” he said.
The farm stand will be staffed by Peace Harbor caregivers and volunteers. Customers will be asked to sign a form indicating they qualify for the program, which is intended for families with a household income at least 200 percent below the federal poverty level. However, no proof is necessary.