Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s Cares are providing food assistance to patient families during the pandemic with a new pilot program that helps eligible families buy healthy groceries. So far, more than 100 patient families have received assistance since the Nicklaus Children’s #GiveMe5 Food Pantry initiative began in January of this year.
As part of the pilot program, families already receiving care for their child at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital or one of its outpatient centers fill out a survey detailing potential food challenges. Families facing food uncertainty at any time during the last 30 days receive a gift card to purchase healthy groceries from Publix or Walmart. They also receive a list of recommended nutritious foods.
Before the pandemic began, the rate of food insecurity in South Florida had been steadily increasing into double digits, according to data from Feeding America. Since the start of COVID-19 last year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported more than one in seven South Florida households have had some level of food insecurity, the highest rate in the nation.
“We know the pandemic has posed income and food insecurity challenges for some of the children and families we serve at Nicklaus Children’s, and we are grateful to provide some assistance through our Food Pantry Gift Card pilot program,” said Leyanee Perez, R.D., L.D.N., Wellness and Community Dietitian and lead nutritionist for the #GiveMe5 initiative in partnership with Kohl’s Cares. “Our Nicklaus Children’s team would like to thank Kohl’s Cares for their support of our work to adapt #GiveMe5 programming to continue to meet the needs of families and others in our community.”
Eligible families whose child is admitted at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital or its outpatient centers will continue to receive food assistance through the #GiveMe5 Food Pantry Gift Card program through the end of August, or as gift card supplies last.
In addition to the Food Pantry pilot program, #GiveMe5 is active in the community and school outreach initiatives that include virtual nutrition workshops and food distribution drives.
For more information about the Nicklaus Children’s GiveMe5 healthy eating initiative, please visit www.nicklauschildrens.org/giveme5.