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Nutritious Food Aids Healing at BMC

As a physician, I can order state-of-the-art diagnostics and offer the best possible treatments, but it is not enough,” said GBFB’s Board of Advisors Chair Dr. Allen Hamdan, Vice Chairman, Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Without question access to healthy food is the best medicine.

In a groundbreaking partnership, GBFB is supporting a pantry at Boston Medical Center that aims to address nutrition-related illness and under-nutrition among its low-income patients. What we eat is central to our health. Doctors tell us that if we don’t get a basic balance of nutrients, we are at higher risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. With the CDC estimating that 86% of today’s healthcare expenditures goes toward treatment of people with chronic diseases, what and how we eat affects everyone.

The good news is that food can act as medicine to maintain, prevent, and even treat disease. And today, medical treatment often involves advice to eat certain foods or to maintain specific diets, interventions that are cost effective and non-invasive. At BMC’s Preventive Food Pantry, GBFB provides the high-nutrient foods that doctors “prescribe” for their patients to heal and prevent illness. The pantry distributes the healthy foods that struggling families often can’t afford but are essential to helping to regain and maintain health.

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Latchman Hiralall has been the pantry’s manager since it opened in 2001.

“Initially, they wanted to call this the ‘food pharmacy,’” he recalled. “We anticipated perhaps 500 patients per month, and today we’re serving 7,000 – which includes family members. We’re healing patients and enhancing diets for entire families, and we couldn’t do this without the healthy food we receive from GBFB. Together we are creating a healthier community all around.”

BMC’s Preventative Food Pantry has fed thousands of people (like Emile Kamadeu) in need and helped them get healthier and back on their feet.

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