For some people, tough times became even tougher during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why the Royal North Shore Hospital food pantry is nowmore important than ever. stocking up the pantry for vulnerable patients
The pantry, which is run by Dietitian Vivian Au in conjunction with the volunteers at The Corner Shop, has been providing healthy food to patients in need since September. Vivian said it all came about when she was working with a colleague in the liver clinic. “We saw this need for a lot of our patients who were really unwell,” she said. “A lot of them were malnourished but they couldn’t follow through with the nutritional plan for whatever the reason; whether that is financially or a lack of access to nutritional foods.
“It had an effect on what we were doing for them because we weren’t caring for the whole person, so we thought why not try this out for a little bit?” Vivian reached out to the Corner Shop, who donated some seed money to start stocking the pantry, while also becoming its home. Soon enough, the pantry was operational with several patients per week accessing it through vouchers from staff across the whole hospital. “It’s still pretty grassroots but we’ve
involved the nutrition department and some wards are pretty proactive with it,” Vivian said. “We’re creating an environment where people don’t need to fill in a questionnaire or provide personal details – they can access the pantry with the ticket provided to them by staff that has no details other than the department name. “When we started we didn’t have a lot, so we relied on staff donations with the hope of working with other organisations, but of course we really appreciate our staff and their generosity.”
RNSH food pantry
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