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Day Kimball Healthcare Establishes Food Pantry for Cancer Patients

July 13, 2020

Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH) recently established Caitlyn’s Cupboard, a hospital-based food pantry to support cancer patients struggling with food insecurity.

Caitlyn’s Cupboard addresses malnutrition and food insecurity among patients treated in Day Kimball Hospital’s Rose Bove LaRose Cancer Center through the provision of no-cost shelf-stable food and nutritional education on a monthly basis.

“At DKH, we recognize that nutrition plays a vital role in cancer prevention and treatment,” said Caitlyn Sward, registered dietician nutritionist, Day Kimball Healthcare. “Our food pantry program has added another level in our pursuit to treat the whole patient by meeting their nutrition-related needs during and after their cancer treatment.”

Nearly 80 DKH Cancer Center patients have already signed up to receive food through the pantry since its establishment in late March 2020.

“Approximately 42% of cancer patients spend their entire life savings within 2 years after their diagnosis,” said Sward. “We believe that no one should have to choose between keeping their electricity on and buying groceries for the week. Caitlyn’s Cupboard is an opportunity for us to help eliminate some of those difficult choices for our patients.”

Day Kimball Healthcare’s Cancer Center patients who identify as food insecure can access the pantry. Sward will schedule pantry appointments with each patient to help them select foods tailored to their specific treatment plan, health needs and dietary requirements. Each person served will receive a three-day supply of non-perishable food for each member of the family, including staple items and healthy snacks.

Caitlyn’s Cupboard also provides patients with nutritional information, healthy recipes, and a comprehensive list of local food assistance programs and other community resources.

“We are proud to be able to offer this innovative solution to our patients,” said Kristen Willis, director of development, Day Kimball Healthcare. “And we couldn’t do it without the support of our community. We have already received generous contributions from UNFI who donated over 22 cases of natural health supplements and personal care products, and the East Woodstock Congregational Church who held a food drive to collect items specific to the Cupboard Wish List.”

“UNFI wholeheartedly supports giving back to the community,” said Diana Donovan, inventory control supervisor, UNFI. “Day Kimball Hospital’s food pantry program aligns with our commitment of helping individuals in our community stay well. We are pleased to be able to help make a difference in the lives of those who are battling cancer in Northeast Connecticut.”

Caitlyn’s Cupboard is now accepting shelf-stable food and financial contributions including grocery store gift card donations. For more information about Caitlyn’s Cupboard or to make a food or monetary donation to the pantry, contact Day Kimball Healthcare’s Development Office at (860) 928-7141.

Photo Caption: Caitlyn Sward, registered dietician nutritionist, Day Kimball Healthcare, manages Caitlyn’s Cupboard, a hospital-based food pantry located at Day Kimball Hospital’s Rose Bove LaRose Cancer Center to support patients who are struggling with food insecurity.

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