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.
Taking Care of the Caretaker: How Food Lifeline and Sea Mar’s Partnership Is Helping Ramona
Twenty years ago, Ramona moved from her home in Mexico to Seattle, Washington. It was a big adjustment. On top of the culture shock, there was weather shock from the hot climate in Mexico to the cool, wet, and rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest.
She weathered the storms though, to be with her family who had immigrated before her. She lives with her kids and grandkids – 12 of them altogether now. Her kids work locally and Ramona keeps the grandkids busy while they’re gone. Ramona lives for them and hopes that someday they can get their American citizenships because this country has offered them many opportunities that were not available when she was growing up.
Though it was many years ago, Ramona still clearly remembers the day she was diagnosed with diabetes. She got sick and thought it was just some bug or the flu, but it got worse. She was tired all the time and that “bug” lasted a long time. She ended up going to the hospital where they told her she had a disease that she could never fully recover from, just manage. It was disillusioning.
Ramona says she’s doing well at managing her diabetes today, but that it’s difficult without reliable access to fruits and vegetables. That’s why she’s so happy about the opportunity to come to Sea Mar Community Health Center regularly and get vegetables from Food Lifeline as well as educational support from Sea Mar. She says that with these resources available to her, she can take better care of herself and even better care of her grandkids for many years to come!
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