Lurie Children’s Hospital launches food delivery program

The hospital received a $150,000 grant from the Cigna Foundation to expand its efforts to address food insecurity.

SHARE Lurie Children’s Hospital launches food delivery program
The Greater Chicago Food Depository at 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The Greater Chicago Food Depository will partner with Lurie’s Children Hospital for the hospital’s new food delivery program.

Sun-Times file

Lurie Children’s Hospital has launched a home food delivery program for patients who might otherwise go hungry.

The hospital received a $150,000 grant from the Cigna Foundation to provide “reliable access to healthy food for over 100 families.”

The program expands on an earlier hospital’s initiative to address food insecurity; two years ago, the hospital opened Chicago’s first onsite food pantry in a pediatric clinic.

“Food insecurity is a significant barrier to children’s health,” said Dr. Adam Becker, executive director of childhood obesity prevention program Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, in a hospital news release. “We hope to reduce the burden on vulnerable families, especially those who are caring for children with medical complexity.”

Mary Kate Daly, vice president of Lurie Children’s Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities, said the grant will pay not only for food, but also for social workers and program staff.

Groceries being delivered to the families will come from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Daly said.

“We want to make sure all this food is healthy so it improves the health of the kids who are still recovering from being at our hospital,” Daly said.

Families will be screened by social workers to determine eligibility for the food deliveries — for instance, by asking whether in the past 12 months the family worried that their food would run out before they could afford to buy more.

Currently, Daly said families are being screened in three Lurie clinics - one for patients with muscular dystrophy, a kidney transplant center and a primary care facility in Uptown.

Although the program was launched to help families during the pandemic, Daly said the idea was in the works before the coronavirus, and she sees it continuing after.

Food insecurity “was a major priority for a lot of the families that we care for,” she said. “So this will certainly go on.”

The Latest
The apartment where Lynn Sweet’s father once lived was demolished to make way for the expressway. President Joe Biden has launched a new program to reconnect communities split by expressways such as the Eisenhower.
We’ve written time and time again about the scourge of gun violence in Chicago and elsewhere. Sometimes it feels as if we have nothing left to say. But the murder of another child, Ariana Molina, is reason to keep speaking out.
Concerts by Nicki Minaj, Leslie Odom Jr. and Suzanne Vega, the CineYouth Film Festival and Congo Square Theatre’s staging of “How I Learned What I Learned” are among the entertainment highlights in the week ahead.
The Cubs claimed a series win against the Diamondbacks with a 5-3 victory on Wednesday
Bird experts say temperature fluctuations could impact available food supply and the timing of arrivals.