West Columbia, S.C. – Lexington Medical Center, Harvest Hope Food Bank and the American Diabetes Association are working together to establish the first diabetic food pantry in South Carolina. Scheduled to open July 1, the D2 & Me Diabetic Food Pantry will allow community members in need with diabetes to pick up special boxes of healthy staple foods and fresh produce that are diabetic friendly.
The idea for the diabetic food pantry came from Natalie Copeland, a Lexington Medical Center employee who has type 2 diabetes and created a health and wellness group called “D2 & Me” for diabetics in the Midlands.
“I learned a lot of people who have diabetes use a food pantry. Sometimes, the food they receive is heavy on carbohydrates. The diabetic food pantry will help to ensure that they receive a nutritional balance of food that will help them manage their diabetes well,” said Copeland.
Recipients at the diabetic food pantry will get boxes that include peanut butter, brown rice, dry pinto beans, oats, Corn Flakes cereal, milk, mandarin oranges, unsweetened applesauce, whole wheat spaghetti noodles, green beans, tomatoes, carrots and chicken. They will also receive a packet with recipes, a brochure about diabetes from the American Diabetes Association, and a schedule of D2 & Me meetings.
“It has always been part of Harvest Hope’s mission to provide quality food for those in need,” said Denise Holland, CEO of Harvest Hope Food Bank. “We are thrilled to be working with Lexington Medical Center and our community partners to help provide for those who are facing the double struggle of diabetes and hunger.”
A Lexington Medical Center Foundation grant is providing the first boxes of food for the diabetic food pantry. Community members who donate to Harvest Hope Food Bank are encouraged to bring foods on the diabetic list. There are also opportunities for corporate sponsorships. For information on donations, visit HarvestHope.org or call the Columbia office at (803) 254 – 4432.
“A healthy diet is an important factor in managing diabetes. The American Diabetes Association is pleased to partner with Lexington Medical Center and Harvest Hope to provide resources in support of the diabetic food pantry in South Carolina,” said John Douglas, manager of Community Health Strategies with the American Diabetes Association in Columbia.
For now, the program is working with three pilot pantries where community members will pick up the diabetic food boxes: Church of Christ Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia; Sharing God’s Love in Irmo; and Mission of Hope in Cayce. People who are interested in receiving the boxes should contact Harvest Hope’s Columbia office at (803) 254 – 4432.
Eventually, organizers would like to expand the program to all Harvest Hope Food Bank agencies in South Carolina.