Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation receives $10K from Rite Aid Healthy Futures to expand equitable care

Funding will support food access efforts through SVMHS Mobile Health Clinic

Patients wait in line to receive services from the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System Mobile Health Clinic. (Contributed)

SALINAS VALLEY — Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation has received a $10,000 grant from Rite Aid Healthy Futures, designed to help expand equitable care and improve health outcomes for children in underserved and vulnerable neighborhoods.

The funding comes through the charity’s Connecting Communities signature initiative and is part of an overall $3 million investment in more than 30 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals serving Rite Aid communities.

The goal of Connecting Communities is to help major institutions like CMN Hospitals collaborate with the neighborhoods around them in new and deeper ways, and ultimately connect people and places with the resources needed to advance health and racial equity.

Initial funding will support a wide range of hospitals and their community-based programs across 15 states. Funded programs concentrate on screening for food insecurity, food distribution and nutrition education, and aim to help eliminate root obstacles that keep communities from achieving health and wellness.

This funding will support the SVMH Foundation’s direct patient assistance efforts through the no-cost Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System Mobile Health Clinic.

Immediate assistance for patients in the most underserved communities will include grocery gift cards for nearby stores and bags of pre-packed nonperishable food for families, helping to combat food insecurity, which is one of the most significant social determinants of health in the Salinas Valley and surrounding communities.

“We are so grateful for this generous grant from Rite Aid Healthy Futures,” said Mobile Clinic Manager Lynette Fitzgerald. “So many of our patients are facing food insecurity and being able to provide them with immediate food assistance relieves a significant stressor for them and their families. When a patient is seen in our clinic for a health condition like pre-diabetes but their family can’t afford fresh, healthy food, the health condition persists.” 

The grants are funded through Rite Aid’s KidCents fundraising program. Customers can round up their purchases online or in-store to support children’s health and wellness. Healthy Futures reinvests the funds into Rite Aid communities through programs like Connecting Communities.

“Expanding equitable care doesn’t start in the emergency room. It starts in our neighborhoods,” said Matt DeCamara, executive director of Rite Aid Healthy Futures. “Though the needs are great, so are the opportunities for progress. Children’s hospitals already play a critical role delivering vital medical care, and many of these institutions have developed impactful programs to serve kids, families and communities in ways that extend beyond traditional medical care. Working together, we can ensure everyone has what they need to live longer, healthier lives.”

Between January 2020 and May 2022, the SVMHS Mobile Clinic has conducted 7,474 patient visits in underserved areas, including South Monterey County.

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