For our neighbors facing serious illness and food insecurity, the need for medically tailored meals is dire.

- July 6, 2021

Woman facing forward smiling.

Patricia Harris

Anyone can fall on hard times, but for those living with a serious illness, the need for assistance in times of uncertainty is often dire. The loss of their job or a source of income can exacerbate food insecurity for anyone, but for our sick neighbors the threat of food insecurity to their health is immediate. Although there is no income requirement for our clients, many are low income and struggle to get the food they need. Without reliable access to nutritious food, it is nearly impossible to effectively manage or overcome serious illnesses.

Many individuals referred to Food & Friends are unable to work because of their illness or complications of treatment; others have been forced out of work due to the health risk or economic impact from the pandemic. Unlike others who may be able to benefit from food stamps and other government and charitable assistance, individuals living with a serious or chronic illness have unique and specific dietary needs.

Patricia, who was referred to Food & Friends because of special dietary requirements needed to manage her HIV diagnosis, worked as a 911 operator for 15 years before experiencing a lapse in employment upon relocating to the D.C. Metro Area. Her HIV diagnosis means that she is unable to rely solely on food banks and government assistance. Nutrition is an important part of keeping her health on track and having Food & Friends there with the healthy foods her body needs is more than a comfort, it’s a necessity. “It’s like a hidden treasure when you’re out there struggling and you’re not able to buy the things that you need… We have a lot of people that we know who do not know where they’re going to get their next meal. The food that I get every two weeks, I don’t take it for granted. I appreciate it, and it helps us out a whole lot.”

At Food & Friends, we believe that anyone can get sick and everyone can help. Our most vulnerable clients are relying on the assistance of their generous neighbors, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Neighbors like Patricia are so appreciative of the helping hand. “I thank God every time it comes to the door. I do. And that’s the truth. I’m very grateful.”

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