In 2014, 17.4 million households were “food insecure,” or lacking enough to feed the whole family, according to the Department of Agriculture. The Coastal Bend Food Bank is always looking to help those with food insecurity, and now it is helping people who are battling food challenges such as Type 2 Diabetes.
“We have our Diabetes Hands On Program; it is an eight-week American Diabetes Association-recognized program, and it is for anyone, and it is free of charge," said Coastal Bend Food Bank Diabetes Program Coordinator Georgiana Bradshaw. "And then we have our Diabetes Pantry Program that was actually borne out of a grant, a study done to see if healthy foods can make a difference in those who have food insecurity and diabetes.”
This program, which has been in place the last two years, is seeing positive outcomes.
“Currently we are taking people with referrals from our pantries, but also physicians and local hospitals," Bradshaw said. "A lot of times, people -- when they are being discharged from the hospital -- will be going home to nothing. And they have their new diabetes meds, and they are told to follow a diet, and they don’t have any food, and we wanted to kind of solve that problem.”
If there is one thing a diabetic needs in order to control his or her blood sugar, it is stable access to food.
“We know that lowering the A1C just by one percentage point can make a huge difference in their complications with their eyes, and their kidneys, and it also makes a difference in their cardiovascular outcomes,” she said.
Again these diabetes programs are all about helping and educating the community.
“Knowing how to manage your diabetes is so important," Bradshaw said. "It is a combination of things; it is just not food, it is just not medicine, it is just not activities. It is a combination of all these things, and so in educating people how to take care of diabetes can make a huge difference in their outcome, and their outcome in complications, and by preventing complications they can live a healthy life.”
The food bank holds diabetes classes on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, the same day and time as pantry pick-up.
For more information visit: https://coastalbendfoodbank.org/get-help/diabetes-pantry/