Salem Health Fights Hunger, Helps Families

By Published On: February 28th, 2017

Improving the community’s health and well-being is more than a mission statement for Salem Health, it is a guiding principle. From the organizations leadership to each individual employee, they are committed to improving the health and nutrition of the Mid-Valley, and they are living out their mission through a variety of activities with Marion Polk Food Share.

“As an organization, it is our goal to promote health and wellness in the community,” said Leilani Slama, Vice President of Community Relations with Salem Health. “We seek to work with partners like Marion Polk Food Share who are working for the same cause.”

One of the ways that Salem Health is improving community well-being is through a Community Partnership Grant supporting the “Veggie Prescription Initiative” through the Food Share. This unique program gives families who are struggling with diet-related diseases more access to healthy and fresh foods.

In cooperation with health clinics in Grand Ronde and northeast Salem, the Food Share will identify individuals and families who are at-risk for diabetes, obesity and other nutritional related conditions. The people and families selected for the program will receive vouchers to exchange for fresh fruits and vegetables, plus access to “Cooking Matters at the Store” nutrition education classes.

In Grand Ronde, individuals will be prescribed vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables within their community for up to six months. In northeast Salem, families will be prescribed a 10-week subscription to a weekly box of produce grown at the Youth Farm.

But Salem Health’s impact on our community does not end there. Individual employees work hard to improve the community through volunteering at the Food Share and holding food drives.

Mary Maberry, a Physician Engagement Specialist at Salem Health, organized the fi rst Salem Health employee’s food repack event. She initially thought it would be a one-time repack shift, but the response from her coworkers inspired her to do more.
“I put it out on the intranet and within 24 hours I had 70 volunteers sign up,” said Mary. “We had to add a day and then another. We’re now up to three nights a month. People bring their children and families. It has grown organically through people who have a heart for service.”

That heart for service also lead the employees of Salem Health to hold a food and funds drive in December. Between collecting donations of food and using cash donations to purchase peanut
butter and tuna, Salem Health employees contributed 2,907 pounds of food.

“We are pleased, but not at all surprised at the response of our employees,” said Leilani. “They care for community members every day, but it’s not just a job. It really is a part of the culture for Salem Health. This is only a small example of how dedicated our employees are to carrying our mission into the

Thank you Salem Health for everything that you are doing to improve our community.