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June 24, 2022/News Releases

Cleveland Clinic Akron General Launches Pantry to Help Patients with Food Insecurity

Partnership with food bank to initially help patients from the Center for Family Medicine

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Beth Hertz | 330.590.7377

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Cleveland Clinic Akron General opened a food pantry today to better serve patients who are experiencing food insecurity. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the pantry located on the first floor of the hospital.

In its first phase, the pantry will provide food to patients of the hospital’s Center for Family Medicine who answer affirmatively to one of two questions on the Hunger Vital Sign™ screening tool. The questions ask if the person has been worried about their ability to buy food in the past 12 months or if they ran out of food and didn’t have money to buy more in the past 12 months.

Funding for this program was secured by State Rep. Emilia Sykes through an Ohio Department of Medicaid grant to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, in collaboration with local hospital systems. The purpose of the grant is to support food-insecure patients with chronic disease and their families who live in Summit County.

“We offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to Rep. Sykes for bringing this project to fruition. It shows her deep commitment to serving the community and her constituents,” said Brian Harte, M.D., President of Akron General. “Having access to sufficient amounts of food is essential to a person being able to experience good health, and this initiative will help many patients achieve that goal.”

Dr. Brian Harte, Rep. Emilia Sykes and Dan Flowers at the Akron General Food Pantry. (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

Dr. Brian Harte, Rep. Emilia Sykes and Dan Flowers at the Akron General Food Pantry. (Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic)

Once a patient has accessed services through the pantry, they are able to return as often as they need. No fee will ever be charged. The goal is to expand the program to help more outpatients as well as inpatients who are being discharged to home, said Claire Loose, manager of nutrition therapy at the hospital.

”Food insecurity continues to plague our community, and the health and well-being of our friends and neighbors. I am proud to have secured these funds to support the food pantry at Cleveland Clinic Akron General that will provide much-needed resources to their patients,” said Rep. Sykes. “I am grateful for the collaboration of Akron General and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, who stepped up for our community to reduce hunger and promote health.”

Dr. Harte was joined by Rep. Sykes and Dan Flowers, CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, to officially open the center.

The food, being provided by the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, will primarily consist of non-perishable items although other items will be offered as available. The pantry is being staffed by Morgan Stocker, a recent graduate of the University of Akron who has experience with other pantries in the area. She will make diet suggestions based on chronic disease and other health information as provided by patients’ physicians. She will also work closely with the medical practice’s social worker to help address patients’ other social needs.

The pantry will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday starting next week. The staff expects to serve 15 to 20 families a week in the initial phase.

About Cleveland Clinic Akron General
Cleveland Clinic Akron General is a nonprofit healthcare organization that has been improving the health and lives of the people and communities it serves since 1914. Akron General is the hub for Cleveland Clinic’s Southern Region and includes a 532-registered-bed teaching and research medical center in downtown Akron; Akron General Partners, which includes Partners Physician Group; three Health & Wellness Centers; Lodi Hospital; and Akron General Foundation. For more information, visit akrongeneral.org.

About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 72,500 employees worldwide are more than 5,050 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,800 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 21 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2021, there were 10.2 million total outpatient visits, 304,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 259,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

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