In an effort to combat food insecurity, Boulder Community Health has partnered with a Denver-based organization to provide about a week’s worth of free, specialized meals to about 90 Boulder County residents.
BCH on Tuesday announced a new partnership with nonprofit Project Angel Heart, thanks to a one-year, $75,000 grant from the hospital’s foundation.
“Through the community collaboration fund, The BCH Foundation supports BCH through igniting new partnerships, accelerating existing partnerships or funding partnerships that need financial support,” said Grant Besser, president of the BCH Foundation, in a news release. “By investing in Project Angel Heart, we are better able to achieve our vision of ‘partnering to create and care for the healthiest community in the nation.’”
Project Angel Heart President and CEO Owen Ryan said the nonprofit started in Denver about 30 years ago when people were looking to provide food to their neighbors living with AIDS. Since then, the organization has grown to provide thousands of meals per year. Last year, it delivered 6,000 meals, and it is expecting to exceed 9,000 this year, Ryan said.
This will be the organization’s first time working with communities in the Front Range, he said.
“What we really wanted was to get help serving neighbors in mountain communities that can be hard to access,” Ryan said. “That is really where our partnership with BCH has come in. They are supporting us to provide our meals to anyone with qualifying illnesses in communities that can often be hard to reach.”
Through this partnership, the meals will be delivered directly to the homes of BCH patients who live in Boulder County and have either identified as residents who are experiencing food insecurity through the hospital’s social screening or have medical ailments such as congestive heart failure, cancer, AIDS or kidney disease.
Since the partnership began in May, 25 meals have been delivered to BCH patients, said Madelyn Hunt, case manager with the hospital.
Not only do the meals address food insecurity, but they are also tailored to meet the exact health needs of each patient, Hunt said.
“Food insecurity puts someone at risk for chronic disease,” she said. “By having meals tailored to the individual and their diagnosis, we’re giving food as a form of medicine to be able to promote health.”
Ryan said all meals are made from scratch with no preservatives and use organic proteins. They are frozen and packaged by volunteers and then directly shipped to the patient’s front door.
“Hunger is absolutely part of our work, but it’s also about addressing illness,” he said. “We’re hopeful that BCH and the broader community will see the opportunity to support folks in mountain communities who are at home with illness and are needing this level of support.”
BCH patients who receive meals can also access nutrition education, one-on-one nutrition counseling sessions, medical nutrition therapy and cooking classes as part of the program, the new release said. Access to nutritional education will be available for up to three months after the delivery of the last meal.
Patients interested in the program can contact their BCH case manager or their primary care doctor. Project Angel Heart also accepts applications from individuals who have congestive heart failure, cancer, HIV, kidney disease or other severe illnesses. People can apply for meals at projectangelheart.org/our-meals/get-meals.