Patients at All Care Health Center can now get nutrition, as well as medical, dental and mental health services.
Story Street Pantry’s mobile pantry will visit the clinic monthly. The pantry will be open from 10 a.m. to noon on the fourth Monday of every month at All Care, 902 S. Sixth St.
The mobile pantry served at least a dozen people during its first visit Monday.
“Having good, nutritious food is part of that recipe to being healthy,” said Executive Director Bill Wypyski. “This is a great partnership for us. This is part of our mission.”
This is another way All Care can remove barriers to good health for people, which it also does by picking people up for their medical appointments, if needed, Wypyski said.
“It’s part of that whole person health care,” he said.
All Care Medical Director Dr. Cristella Torres brought up the idea of having a pantry at the clinic, Wypyski said.
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Some of All Care’s clients are food insecure, according to Mayra Loza, enrollment specialist.
“We have a lot of Latino homeless people,” she said.
It has been hard to get by since the extra child tax credit funding ended and inflation took off, said Brandee Steffes, whose household includes two adults and one child.
“I have cried leaving a grocery store before,” she said.
All Care reached out to Story Street Pantry to see if they could help, said Loren Knauss, mobile pantry manager and co-founder of Story Street Pantry.
“All Care Health Center views food insecurity as a health issue, and they are committed to working with their patients to connect them with the food pantry services they need,” he said. “Kerri Wede, who is the development and marketing director, reached out to Story Street Pantry to discuss the possibility of partnership. After only one phone call and a few emails, we created a long-term strategy that will involve All Care Health Center staff reaching out to their patients to encourage them to utilize the mobile pantry services each month at their location, if they need assistance.”
Knauss said he believes All Care patients will feel more comfortable seeking help on site from the mobile pantry than going to a fixed-site pantry.
“When you have someone like a health care worker tell you about it, it helps a lot,” he said. “It’s like a teacher telling you. They’re our gateway now.”
Pantry workers have seen a growing need for their services, Knauss said.
“Unfortunately, our client numbers have increased over the last month,” he said. “We believe the high fuel prices and the increase in food prices have caused this increase.”
The mobile pantry alone served 1,005 people in April, Knauss said.
“That’s the highest number we have ever had,” he said. “This does not include our numbers at Our Savior’s Lutheran Food Pantry location or our other fixed-site pantry locations. Our numbers at each location have increased.”