“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman because it often results in physical death.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The cost of living in the Bay Area is the highest in the country and a recent report showed that many people in Alameda County are forced to skip meals in order to pay rent. To help fight hunger, Alameda Health System (AHS) staff chose to volunteer at the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) on MLK Day 2020.

“As a safety-net institution, we know firsthand the staggering number of patients that deal with food insecurity which is why I decided to volunteer today. We can provide all the health care in the world, but if our patients don’t have access to food, they will not be able to heal or live their best life,” Lori Foidl, AHS V.P. Patient Care Services San Leandro Hospital

Insufficient access to healthy food can lead to increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. In Alameda County, nearly 40% of working residents lack enough food to feed themselves and their families and earn too much to qualify for government benefits like CalFresh. The ACCFB helps people meet basic needs by providing healthy food to 20% of Alameda County residents.

“As a health care organization our ultimate goal is to support families to live healthy and productive lives. We recognize that health care goes beyond what we do within the four walls of our hospitals and it’s only by addressing the social determinants of health that we can truly support our patients to live and not just survive. We are honored to work with an organization like the Food Bank and we look forward to our continued partnership,” said AHS CEO Delvecchio Finley.

In addition to volunteering at the ACCFB on MLK day and participating in their virtual food drive, AHS has launched several programs and implemented processes to help patients with food insecurity. Advocates link patients to programs like CalFresh. Some of AHS facilities have a “Food Farmacy” where patients receive “food prescriptions” to farmer’s markets and at the weekly Highland Farmer’s Market, AHS patients using EBT cards receive fresh produce at a 50 percent discount.

To join the fight against food insecurity in Alameda County donate to the ACCFB.