According to Bread for the World, Hispanics are twice as likely as white citizens to face food insecurity, and 1 in 5 Hispanic households have at least one person going hungry. Individuals from food insecure households often engage in unhealthy dietary behaviors to save money, which increases the risk for developing chronic health conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Higher rates of food insecurity in the Hispanic community are a direct effect of racial disparities.

Meals on Wheels’ Project Assistant, Marisol Davalos-Esqueda, is a vital part of our service and outreach to the Hispanic community in Central Indiana. In addition to providing bilingual support to clients, Marisol has added Hispanic outreach and education efforts to our program. Some include visits to area laundromats to distribute nutrition education materials and providing shelf-stable pantry boxes to families working with Down Syndrome of Indiana. She also participates in many organizations and groups serving the Hispanic community, such as Eskenazi Conexion, La Plaza and the Latino Roundtable.

In a recent client case, Marisol implemented the core values that separate our services from traditional food access organizations with Lucas. He came to us through the recommendation of his medical providers. He was critically ill and because of his medical treatments, he had lost his appetite. Marisol was able to provide culturally sensitive nutrition education to help Lucas understand the importance of getting the nutrition he needs. After a nutritional assessment, he began receiving our medically-tailored meals and reported experiencing a better quality of life.

Unfortunately, Lucas lost his battle to cancer. Marisol assisted the family with making connections to the local embassy so his body could be sent to lay in rest in his home country at no cost. This is something the family would not have been able to afford due to their limited income.

The differences in our program – a customized medically-tailored meal plan, culturally sensitive nutrition education and support, and additional food support for the entire household, infinitely impacted the life of Lucas and his entire family.

REFERENCES: 

Bread for the World: www.bread.org

https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/health-of-women-and-children/measure/food_insecurity_household/state/IN

https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/44080/59326_eib-153.pdf?v%3D0

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