2016, Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield (MCHS-Springfield) dietitian
Linda Carruthers made a visit to the Springfield food shelf to provide
education to the clients. At the end of the session she noticed some boxes
stacked on a table. The food shelf manager explained that these unclaimed boxes
of food were for Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS) participants.
NAPS is a USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program designed to provide
nutritious food products each month at no cost to eligible individuals over the
age of 60.
The boxes had
not been claimed by the participants for a variety of reasons. For some, the
30-pound boxes were too heavy to carry. Others were unable to access
transportation to pick up the box or their proxy was unable to pick up the box
at the designated times. As a result, these participants were unable to receive
nutritious items such as cereal; canned fruits, vegetables and meat;
shelf-stable milk; fruit juice; peanut butter; pasta; and cheese.
met with Scott Thoreson, administrator at MCHS-Springfield, to discuss the
possibility of MCHS-Springfield staff delivering boxes to the people who were
unable to pick them up. Thoreson agreed that the hospital should get involved
with the project. Carruthers began visiting local senior living complexes
promoting NAPS and the delivery program. She also informed clients who were her
patients in the clinic setting of the opportunity.
2016, MCHS-Springfield collaborated with the food shelf and became proxies for
some of the participants to begin the delivery program began. Carruthers and
Michael Berberich from the MCHS-Springfield maintenance department collected
the boxes at the food shelf, loaded them into the hospital van and delivered
them to participants. The number of deliveries the first few months was five;
one year later, 10 to 12 deliveries are made each month, which takes about two
hours to accomplish. The cost of making deliveries is about $1,200 per year.
NAPS boxes, MCHS-Springfield has improved access to healthy food for a
population that was unable to obtain it. During the monthly food deliveries,
nutrition tips are shared for how to use the items in the box. The delivery
volunteers have formed relationships with box recipients while providing a
friendly visit, which the seniors greatly appreciate.