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.
Supporting a Supporter: How a Partnership between Food Lifeline and Sea Mar Community Health Centers is helping Maria Alejandra
Maria Alejandra grew up in Colima, a state near the equator on the Pacific coast of Mexico where most of her family still lives. She came to the United States for work many years ago and now spends three days a week as a housekeeper at a local nursing home. She lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her husband, sister, and niece. One of her sons, who still lives in Mexico, struggles with drug addiction. Maria Alejandra cares about him and tries to support him in his recovery, sometimes sending a bit of money to keep him in a stable home since he’s currently without work. Her other two children are able to take care of themselves, and she hopes it will stay that way.
About ten years ago, Maria Alejandra went to the doctor because she was feeling poorly and found out she had diabetes. They put her on a diet, but she never followed it. “They took out meat!” she says with some annoyance.
Earlier this year Maria Alejandra ended up in the emergency room for complications with her diabetes. She thought she might die and worried what would happen to her son in Mexico if that were to happen. Thankfully she survived and when she made it out of the hospital, she was referred to Sea Mar for follow up care and more rigorous health education.
This time she is listening to the health educator and when she found out she can come to the clinic to get vegetables to supplement what she is getting at the store, she was very excited! She is recommitted to eating the right food and says she will try to eat all the vegetables she gets this week at the Food Lifeline vegetable distribution. She hopes that her participation in this program will help her health to get better.
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