FORT SMITH, Arkansas – OG&E Energy Corp. Foundation recently awarded a $5,000 community grant to Baptist Health Foundation for the Food Rx Program at Baptist Health-Fort Smith.
The program aims to improve the health and nutrition of patients hospitalized at Baptist Health-Fort Smith. Patients are screened upon admission and, if self-identified as food-insecure, they will benefit from the program. Food Rx provides emergency food supplies for patients consisting of a three-day food supply for a family of four and a resource list of food pantries and community resources upon discharge from the hospital. The program’s participants receive assistance with WIC and SNAP applications, Cooking Matters classes for children and adults, and educational seminars.
“From new medications and home health needs to returning to work, there’s often so much to think about once you’re discharged from the hospital. Necessities like groceries shouldn’t be one more stressor,” said Jeff Carrier, FACHE, region president for Baptist Health. “We want our patients to be able to focus on healing, so we’re happy to be able to provide a nutritious supply of food and resources to help alleviate some of that stress.”
Funding from the grant will go toward food supplies. With this program, Baptist Health-Fort Smith hopes to identify and help 200 patients in the first six months of the year. With further support, Baptist Health hopes to expand the program to Baptist Health-Van Buren, as well as patients of its clinics in the River Valley.
“Our local hospitals are integral to caring for our communities, “ said Carrie Terry, OG&E Community Outreach Coordinator. “We believe we are only as strong as the communities we serve. Partnering with Baptist Health-Fort Smith is an opportunity to energize our community and help our neighbors in need by allowing them to focus on their healing.”
A check presentation was held Friday, Jan. 19, with representatives from Baptist Health-Fort Smith, Baptist Health Foundation and OG&E.
”We are deeply grateful for OG&E’s commitment to energizing our community,” stated Lena Hayes, chief development officer of Baptist Health Foundation. “Their contribution will help ensure that none of our patients in need will go home without access to food. This philanthropic partnership signifies a tremendous step forward in our collective efforts to improve the health and quality of life for the people we serve.”
To learn more about supporting Baptist Health Foundation and the Food Rx program, visit baptisthealthfoundation.org/areas-of-purpose/food-rx/