When Steven Findlay and Jacki Holey report to work, sounds from slot machines – not IV pumps or other healthcare equipment – emanate from the building. Still, the two part-time ProMedica employees are helping lessen hunger-related healthcare concerns among area residents, such as underweight newborns and worsened chronic conditions, albeit in a different way.
Findlay and Holey repackage un-served, prepared food primarily from Hollywood Casino Toledo’s buffet. The food is collected by Seagate Foodbank of Northwest Ohio and distributed to homeless shelters and other communal feeding sites.
From February through October 2013, Findlay and Holey repackaged more than 40,000 pounds of food that otherwise would have gone to waste. This puts them on ProMedica’s frontlines of addressing hunger as a health issue.
“It’s just amazing and such a good way to help people,” said Holey while with Findlay on a tour of Seagate Foodbank, which annually distributes 12 – 15 million pounds of food throughout 18 northwestern Ohio counties.
While unusual for a healthcare organization, ProMedica’s food reclamation started in February 2013 and is part of ProMedica’s collaborative Come to the Table advocacy initiative to address hunger as a health issue both locally and nationally. The program is based on a successful model at Forgotten Harvest in the Detroit area, and most of the food is delivered to Cherry Street Mission Ministries in Toledo.
With the experiences and advice of Findlay and Holey, ProMedica Advocacy is working with other large foodservice venues to establish similar programs.
In summer 2013, ProMedica Toledo Hospital also started to repackage prepared cafeteria food for Seagate Foodbank to distribute. ProMedica Flower Hospital is launching a program, too.
Local foodservice venues that would like to find out more about food reclamation can contact ProMedica Advocacy at 419-469-3896.