At WMHS, we are already doing a variety things in dealing with hunger in our region. We have both a financial and governance relationship with the Western Maryland Food Bank. Our Ladies of Charity pack backpacks for students in need each Friday and we support the Union Rescue Mission in a variety of ways from food to Christmas families. Our Community Benefit contribution was $40 million in 2013 of which some of those monies addressed hunger in our region.
In early March, we have a Ruby Potter disciple, Terie Dreussi-Smith, coming to present on "Bridges into Health: Strategies to Reduce Inequities and Improve Health Outcomes.” With the growing social needs, including hunger, we have invited Terie to present on strategies to assist us with our growing safety net responsibilities. As a health system, we need increase food security for families in our community as there is a direct correlation between hunger and health status. We also need to guarantee appropriate food intake, especially for our diabetic patients and others with diet-sensitive diseases.
The care of our patients has changed so dramatically over the last three plus years, so treating hunger as a health issue makes perfect sense.