Komen Missouri Community Partner: Food Outreach’s Comprehensive Nutritional Support for Low-Income Breast Cancer Clients in Greater St. Louis

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Food Outreach, Inc.’s program to give Comprehensive Nutritional Support for Low-Income Breast Cancer Clients in Greater St. Louis helps the working poor, those who may experience a significant drop in income due to breast cancer treatment, and those who have lived in poverty their entire lives. Food Outreach assists those without the resources to buy food with medically-recommended nutrients, and who could be at a great disadvantage while battling their illness.

Komen Missouri’s community grant funding for Food Outreach’s program provides nutritional support to low-income women who are going through breast cancer treatments in the greater St. Louis area.

The program also provides personal nutrition counseling and nutrition education classes, helping participants with their nutrition through their treatments and the rest of their lives.

The Komen Missouri grant allows Food Outreach to enroll 60 low-income breast cancer patients into their program. The grant funding also provides 25,000 meals to breast cancer clients, and helps improve their nutrition status.

It is mandatory in the Food Outreach program for clients to meet with the program’s Registered Dietitian at enrollment. The dietitian assesses the client’s nutritional status, including weight measurement; conducts an interview determining barriers in their nutrition “food recall”; and administers a Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), that measures body mass and fluids.

The dietitian provides clients with a recommended eating plan based on their assessment, disease stage, treatments and other illnesses.

Once a client is enrolled in Food Outreach’s program, they can order up to 28 nutritious meals every two weeks. Clients can contact the dietitian at any time for advice or questions about their nutrition. Clients are also encouraged to attend the program’s weekly gathering three-course lunch and are welcome to bring a guest.

Food Outreach gives breast cancer clients proper nutrition to help build strength and lessen the severity of the side effects they may experience from treatments. All of the program’s clients can remain enrolled for up to six months following their last treatment to regain strength and health.

Director of Development Becky Reichardt reflects on a patient’s story: Food Outreach recently enrolled a 66-year old woman whose breast cancer returned and spread to her lungs and bones. This woman was going through an aggressive treatment plan while also battling diabetes and neuropathy. Her illnesses made it difficult to get around and prepare meals, and she was making poor food choices. Food Outreach’s dietitian created a food plan for her and counsels her on her food choices. The dietitian meets with her regularly to do BIA testing, measuring muscle mass. Becky says, “She consistently orders meals from our Grocery Center and has shared Food Outreach recipes with family members and friends. Her energy has improved, and her muscle mass has increased, both of which have helped her to stay in her home while facing another round of treatments.”

Food Outreach has been providing low-income cancer patients with nutritional support since 2006. Established in 1988, Food Outreach continues to be the only St. Louis-area nonprofit that focuses on the importance of nutritional support at no cost to low-income persons that are battling HIV/AIDS or cancer.

This is the 6th year of Komen Missouri funding for this program.

Susan G. Komen Missouri’s community grants help fund local breast cancer screening, breast health education and patient navigation and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.

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