South End Anti-Hunger Director Worries About Budget Cuts

(Video by Mukala Kabongo and Dalinda Ifill-Pressat) By Mario D. Zepeda Rhonda Dickson said she’s never been more concerned about the financial stability of social service programs in Massachusetts, such as WIC – a special supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children.  For 40 years, Dickson, the director of WIC in Boston’s South End, has helped low-income families get […]

First in the Nation Program
at Boston Medical Center
Prescribes Food For Better Health

Latchman Hiralall and volunteer Josh Babbin spoke on the necessity and functionality of BMC’s Preventive Food Pantry. (Video by Mukala Kabongo, Mario Zepeda, and Dalinda Ifill)

By Dalinda Ifill

The Preventive Food Pantry at Boston Medical Center offers healthy food options to battle poor nutrition in low-income patients. For 15 years the pantry served as a pivotal resource, providing healthy groceries for BMC patients at no cost. It is the first of its kind in the country.

Patients receive dietary prescriptions from their primary care physicians. These prescriptions are a list of healthy food items recommended to maintain a proper diet based on the patient’s medical condition. For patients who are not able to afford their recommended dietary items, the Preventive Food Pantry accommodates their dietary needs.

Dietetic technician Latchman Hiralall operates the food pantry. His team of volunteers works directly with the primary care physicians at BMC to customize groceries for patients.

Patients are allowed access to the food pantry twice a month. They are provided with a cart of canned and boxed groceries, fruits and vegetables for their particular diet. During the holidays special items such as turkeys and other staples are offered. Food items are disseminated in quantities to serve a patient’s household in an effort to promote a healthier lifestyle for their families.

The award-winning, privately funded, Preventive Food Pantry at BMC operates year-round, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It services more than 7,000 patients each month.