H.E.L.I.U.M. Food Pantry
Our plan is to partner with the NKF of Indianapolis for a free health screening at a local church, where we will also be managing a food pantry, and providing renal diet education.
The Haughville area of Indianapolis is at poverty level, and as a clinic, we want to give back to them. We want to educate them on their health status, their food choices, and their risk for CKD. Also, we want to be able to provide them with the opportunity to receive goods from a local, reliable food pantry that’s easily accessible.
At DCI- Indianapolis, located in the Haughville Historic District on the near west side, our patients struggle with a variety of hardships every day. This area of Indianapolis is at poverty level and the goal of our Purpose Project was to provide a much needed resource for the community that we directly serve. This led us to connect with a local church to aid in starting up a food pantry. Thus, the “H.E.L.I.U.M. Food Pantry,” was born. H.E.L.I.U.M represents Helping, Encouraging, Loving, Inspiring, Uplifting and Motivating. In collaboration with the National Kidney Foundation of Indianapolis, we were also able to provide a free kidney health screening with renal education for the community.
On August 10, 2019, we held our Purpose Project with the help of many volunteers. DCI and the National Kidney Foundation had 53 people complete the screening for kidney disease. Many of our screened participants were members of the community, the church, and our own DCI staff. Of these 53 people, nearly 30% were referred to a nephrologist for further evaluation due to kidney disease staging 3-5. Because of this Purpose Project we were not only able to provide a much needed resource to the community but early recognition and detection of kidney disease. This opportunity was something that many of our participants may not have had easy access to.
In addition to the kidney screening, many people from the surrounding area came out to take advantage of the newly opened food pantry at the Restoration Community Church. The food pantry reported providing approximately 35 families with much needed food assistance. DCI staff, family and friends helped to stock the majority of food items needed to start up the food pantry. In addition, we obtained donations from local stores which included: Meijer, Kroger, Costco, Sam’s Club and local bakeries. Several of these connections have volunteered to continue on-going weekly to monthly donations.
Along with the opening of the food pantry and kidney screening we offered a family fun area for the community to come together. After participants and their families completed the screening, they were encouraged to join the festivities located in the rear of the church. They were greeted with hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, ice cold beverages and all the fixings. Family activities followed including face painting, balloon animals and a bounce house.
As a clinic, unsure of the response we would get from our invitations, we could have only hoped that the community would respond to our outreach in the manner in which they did. H.E.L.I.U.M food pantry was able to provide food for many families through this project and will continue to aid in helping families with food insecurities for years to come. Not only did we help families fight food insecurities, but we were able to help change lives with early detection of chronic kidney disease. This embodies all that we at DCI strive to give our patients, after all, “the care of the patient is our reason for existence.”