Lakeview Pantry and Advocate Illinois Masonic Join Forces to Bring Food Security to Patients:
Chicago, IL — Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center is proud to announce it has partnered with Lakeview Pantry to establish a food pantry program for cancer patients struggling with food insecurity.
Food insecurity — characterized as one’s inability to reliably access a sufficient amount of affordable and nutritious food — can have damaging effects on a patient’s health outcomes. A large body of evidence points to the importance of nutrition in helping patients stay well during times of sickness and health.
For this reason, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center will collaborate with Lakeview Pantry to bring free bags of groceries to cancer patients without adequate access to food.
“Nutrition plays a critical role in not only helping patients prevent chronic disease but also staying healthy during and after treatment,” says Maritess Caamic, director of Advocate Illinois Masonic’s cancer center. “We are so thankful for this partnership with Lakeview Pantry. This food pantry program aligns with our shared goal of helping individuals in our community stay well.”
On the North Side of Chicago alone, approximately 1 in 9 people struggles with food insecurity. Lakeview Pantry, Chicago’s largest food pantry, has two physical locations on the North Side and a home delivery program. The Pantry serves approximately 8,000 low-income residents through 40,000 site visits and distributes 1.4 million meals every year.
“We are honored to have the ability to bring our services to North Side residents undergoing cancer treatment,” says Kellie O’Connell, chief executive officer of Lakeview Pantry. “Our goal is to make emergency food distribution available to everyone in need, and the partnership with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center helps bring that to reality. Our neighbors fighting cancer should not have to worry about whether or not they can put food on the table to nourish themselves for the fight.”
Through this partnership, Lakeview Pantry will deliver enough bags of nonperishable food to serve up to 30 people every month to Advocate Illinois Masonic’s cancer team, who will in turn screen and identify patients in need of food and distribute the bags on an as-needed basis.
The food bags will also come with a gift card that patients can use to purchase additional groceries as well as a resource guide pointing patients to community organizations that can assist with food security.
“This food pantry program is really designed to be a bridge solution – not a permanent one – for our patients,” says Andrea Karoff, a licensed clinical social worker at Advocate Illinois Masonic. “Our goal is that the food bags
will give patients enough food until they are connected with organizations that can help them identify a stable source of food. In this way, it’s truly a collaboration born out of a real need in our community.”