Sanford Health fights hunger with $3 million donation

The pandemic has exacerbated hunger, and Sanford is responding

Sanford Health employees volunteer to pack and send meals out in Bemidji, Minnesota.
Sanford Health employees volunteer to pack and send meals out in Bemidji, Minnesota.

There’s a lot of worry that’s come with the pandemic.

But Sanford Health is doing its part to make sure families impacted by the pandemic don’t have to worry about one thing: food.

The health care provider donated $3 million to food banks across Sanford Health communities, including a $1 million donation to Feeding South Dakota. Both Feeding South Dakota and Sanford Health’s corporate headquarters are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Meeting a need

According to Feeding South Dakota, 1 in 9 individuals don’t have enough access to food to lead a healthy life.

And, that’s just in South Dakota.

“We know that our region is not immune, and we want to support and help fix the problem. Hunger has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Dr. Joshua Crabtree, vice president for Sanford clinic operations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“So, because of that, we wanted to make a significant gift. Something that would make a real dent, or make a real impact,” he added.

Feeding South Dakota CEO Matt Gassen says the positive impact of Sanford’s donation will be felt for years.

“This check is going to help us change the trajectory of some of our distribution models. And, also be able to help people for many, many years to come,” he said.

Across the Midwest

Feeding South Dakota, headquartered in Sioux Falls, was not the only food bank to receive donations from Sanford Health. The health system donated to food banks across South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa as well.

Taylor Syvertson is the impact manager of Great Plains Food Bank’s Ending Hunger 2.0¬†campaign in Fargo, North Dakota.

She says since the pandemic began, she’s seen a big uptick in families needing food assistance.

“We’ve served 10.8 million meals, and we’ve seen an increase of 45% more clientele than last year. It’s no surprise that people are struggling. This incredible $1 million gift from Sanford will help us provide more than two and a half million meals across our state,” she said.

“We focus on total community health. And, you just cannot have total community health when you have the amount of hunger that’s happening right here,” said Bryan Nermoe, president of Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota.

Allison Suttle, M.D., Sanford Health senior vice president and chief medical officer says the $3 million gift will be split among Feeding South Dakota, Great Plains Food Bank, North Country Food Bank, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Second Harvest Heartland, Food Bank of Siouxland, and Food Bank of Iowa.

“Good health starts with good nutrition. When we heard about the sharp increases in demand for food, we knew we needed to step in and help,” Dr. Suttle said. “Not having access to nutritious food can lead to the development of chronic illnesses and often aggravates the severity of existing conditions. This is a major investment in the well-being of our communities.”

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Posted In Community, Company News, Coronavirus, News, Rural Health, Wellness

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