Project Angel Food has joined the California Food Is Medicine Coalition (FIMC), an association of nonprofit, medically tailored food and nutrition services providers for people with severe or chronic illnesses. The coalition promotes research on the efficacy of food and nutrition services on health outcomes and cost of care and shares best practices in the provision of medically tailored meals and of nutrition education and counseling. A California contingency of the Food Is Medicine Coalition is represented by Project Angel Food, Project Open Hand, Ceres Community Project, Mama’s Kitchen, Food For Thought and Health Trust. Project Angel Food Executive Director, Richard Ayoub said,
“Los Angeles has the highest food insecurity rate in the country. This pilot program will go a long way to sure that people who are sick and hungry can get the food that not only keeps them alive, but will help them heal. We applaud the State of California for being visionaries in reducing food stress in the State, while bringing down the cost of health care. With medically-tailored intervention, we expect health care costs to be reduced by at least 20%.”
State Senator Mike McGuire worked with the California contingency of the Food Is Medicine Coalition to secure $6 million over three years for an innovative first of its kind healthy food pilot project for low income Californians with chronic disease and health issues. The funding for this pilot project is included in SB 97, a budget bill that the Senate just voted on and approved. The $6 million will be used over a three year period, supporting the pilot project for the Food Is Medicine Coalition. The funds will target chronically ill Medi-Cal patients who suffer from congestive heart failure, cancer, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and renal disease. The soon to be launched program is based on a model by the Philadelphia based Manna. The organization’s pilot program in that city demonstrated that after delivering three medically tailored meals each day for six months to 65 patients with chronic disease, their healthcare costs from $38,937 per month to $28,183 per month, and were 55% lower than other groups in the study. California State Assemblymember David Chiu also strongly supported funding for this medically tailored meals project and sponsored the budget ask in the State Assembly subcommittee in support of food as medicine. Assemblymember Bianca E. Rubio (District 48, Baldwin Park – D) was among others who testified in support.
Project Angel Food has served the community tirelessly for 28 years and provided more than 10.5 million meals to men and women living with critical illness. The kitchen, staff and volunteers prepare over 11,000 meals a week, free of charge and medically tailored to the requirements of clients living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney failure, congestive heart disease and diabetes. The mission is one of love, to feed and nourish the sick as they fight their battle. Many of the clients are living well below the poverty line and Project Angel Food is the lifeline, filling a vital need in all communities. The client base is testimony to this fact, 40% Latino, 30% African-American, 21% Caucasian, 5% Asian and 4% Multiracial.