Not long ago, in the Fall issue of SHARE, we introduced you to a new screening tool, the Hunger Vital Sign™, that we think holds great value to our community. The Hunger Vital Sign™ can help us spot families at risk for food insecurity, a serious enemy of public health.
Loaves & Fishes has been introducing this screening tool to the medical community over the last few months. Dr. Timothy Wall, a prominent pediatrician in our community, has been using the Hunger Vital Sign™ during the check-in process for his patients. He has allowed us to get a first glimpse of how this tool might be used in an effective and meaningful way. The staff in Plainfield, Naperville, Bolingbrook, and West Chicago, recently shared the results of their screenings over the first month. Surprisingly, responses showed that from 10% to as many as 60% of the screened patients were struggling to put healthful meals on the table. Dr. Wall’s staff was able to respond immediately with information about Loaves & Fishes and other resources in our area. Several clients were offered vouchers to enable them to come to Loaves & Fishes even though they live outside our immediate service area. We are hopeful that Dr. Wall will be able to use this information internally as well in considering best treatments for these patients. Maybe just an apple a day will keep the doctor away.
We are thankful to have the opportunity to meet with members of our medical community to build awareness of food insecurity in our area, and offer this powerful screening tool. It’s as easy as asking two questions! Stay tuned as we continue to spread the word about the Hunger Vital Sign™.