Sutter Health Plus Helps Street Level Health Project Feed the Hungry
Responding to the needs of underserved immigrant communities in the Bay Area, the Street Level Health Project’s food pantry serves as a gateway for those with basic food needs to access health care, legal, employment and housing services. This year’s community benefit donation of $43,333 from Sutter Health Plus will help stock the food pantry and feed needy individuals and families in Oakland.
“When people come to us for food, we can begin a pathway to help them access the services they need,” explains Jae Maldonado, Street Level Health Project executive director. “Food is the anchor where trust is built, and from there we can begin to meet their other basic needs.”
One example is a homeless immigrant from Mexico who comes to access the program’s food services on a regular basis. Recently during one of his lunch visits, he suffered a seizure and quickly received medical care from the clinic staff. Due to fear and language barriers, he had never accessed adequate medical services to manage his illness.
With the help of the Street Level Health Project staff, he is now enrolled in Medicare, obtained subsidized medications for his condition, established primary care at a medical home, and found a shelter to live in.
“We are able to help people like him when they come to our centers for food,” says Jae. “Once they are here, we build relationships, establish trust, and help them connect to resources for ongoing care and support. Some of our clients eventually give back to the community by telling others about the resources available in their own communities.”
Since 2002, the Street Level Health Project has supported thousands of low-to-no income adults through the Health Access Program (HAP), where 48 percent of households live below the poverty level and 16,000 adults are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Their clients are 93 percent foreign-born, with 43 percent having resided in the U.S. for less than three years. Many face a multitude of barriers including issues related to language, literacy skills, legal status, unemployment and lack of health care.
The Street Level Health Project is sponsored in part by the California Endowment and other community partners. Sutter Health Plus’ $43,333 investment in the Street Level Health Program is just one more way the health plan fulfills its not-for-profit mission to give back to the community, by supporting programs that promote health through education about better nutrition, physical activity and wellness.
For more information, visit the Street Level Health Project.