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Foundation funds meal program for SBA Cancer Center patients

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy treatments creates many challenges and stressful situations for cancer patients. With funding from the SBAMH Foundation, Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital is working to offer a helping hand by providing meals.

One of the Foundation’s 2018 projects for funding was to offer meals to SBA Cancer Center patients while they are undergoing treatments during the lunch hour.

“This program is important for the hospital because we are meeting a need for our cancer patients that was not being met,” said Diane Heilman Felt, MPH, RD, LD, of Nutrition Services. “When the idea first surfaced, I talked to a friend with a family member under treatment and the Cancer Center staff. I asked if a service that provided meals to patients while under treatment might be beneficial. I got a resounding YES!

“The Nutrition Services Department simply added a few more meals to what we’re already serving, making the additional service easy to incorporate.”

The Hospital began serving these meals at the end of April. In April they served three meals, then in May they served 39 meals, with 36 meals served in June.

“This is a great service to be able to offer our patients,” said SBA Radiation Oncology Manager Jamie Richards, M.S. RT(R)(T). “It is important for patients to keep up their nutrition while going through treatments and many do not have any other option to get a good meal while they are here. We want as many people to take advantage of this new program as possible.”

The meals are offered free to patients, who have the opportunity to select their meal from the café menu or patient lunch menu that day. Once the meals are ordered through a staff member, they are delivered to the patients. Patients can also choose to take the meal “to-go”.

One of those who has taken part in the program is Mary Jo Roberts of Douglass.

“It means a lot because I don’t always have someone here with me,” she said. “Without this, when I didn’t have someone here, it meant I would be eating crackers.”

Mary Jo was recently eating her third meal from the café.

“This is the kind of impact the Foundation Board hopes to have with the projects they fund,” said Chase Locke, Foundation Executive Director. “We are happy to be able to make a difference in someone’s life during what is one of the toughest times in their life.”

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