Front Burner Blog

Renovating Health

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Nutritious food plays a vital role in our overall health. Yet too many low-income communities lack equitable access to nutritious, affordable, fresh foods. Limited access makes it difficult to eat the specified diet necessary for managing or preventing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or obesity. That's why Food Lifeline is launching a pilot project with Sea Mar Community Health Centers to provide nutrient-dense, diabetes-appropriate food. The success of the project means bringing this program to health clinics across Western Washington.


Renovating Health: How a Partnership Between Food Lifeline and Sea Mar Community Health Centers is Helping Roberto

Roberto grew up in Mexico and immigrated to California looking for better work. Five years ago he moved to Seattle and spent most of his time working on a crew that remodeled apartment buildings. The remodeling was good work and one of the benefits of working there was free courses in English. 

Some time ago, Roberto sustained an injury and working became much more strenuous. Over time it became so difficult to work that Roberto decided to leave his job and apply for disability. He was disappointed that he would have to stop learning English formally, but unfortunately was not physically able to do the job any longer.

Recently disability payments started for him and while it's making a difference in his ability to provide for his needs, food is still an area that is challenging for him. He's had diabetes for six years now. It wasn't a surprise; his family has a history of the disease, but it was still upsetting to realize his life would never be quite the same.

The last time Roberto went to the doctor they informed him that his diabetes was out of control. He's been using his restricted income for medications which has made it a challenge to buy the right kinds of foods. He ends up eating a lot of food that is inexpensive and carb-heavy, like tortillas and bread. While these foods are filling and fit his budget, they're more difficult for his body to absorb and use properly because of his diabetes.

When he was referred to the new program with Food Lifeline and Sea Mar, where fresh fruits and vegetables are provided alongside education on how to better manage diabetes, Roberto was very excited! Because money is the biggest obstacle in buying nutritious food that helps manage his diabetes, this program is a big help to Roberto. He thinks the additional access to fresh fruits and vegetables will help him to get his body in better health and manage his diabetes well.

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