St. Mary Medical Center awards $132,800 to two nonprofit organizations through its Community Health Grant Program

Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center recently awarded two area nonprofit organizations, Food Finders, Inc. and Project Angel Food, with essential funding to improve and expand their services to persons in need.

The community grant funds provided to Food Finders, Inc. support the Community Market Places, offering food hubs across Long Beach to serve residents experiencing food insecurity, while the contribution to Project Angel Food assists with home-delivered, medically-tailored meals and nutritional counseling for chronically-ill older adults. 

“This year’s decision for our community grant partners was harder than ever, as Dignity Health realizes how many meaningful organizations are struggling through the pandemic,” Carolyn Caldwell, St. Mary Hospital President said. “Thanks to our annual Community Health Grant Program, we are able to work collaboratively to improve the well-being of the communities we serve and we believe that food insecurities are one of the greatest needs impacting the health of Long Beach residents.”

Founded in 1989 by Arlene Mercer, Food Finders has since expanded from Mercer’s kitchen table to distributing over 30,000 meals on a daily basis.

Sister Celeste Trahan, St. Mary’s Vice President of Mission Integration and Kit Katz, St. Mary’s Director of Community Benefits,
stand with a Food Finders representative. Via Food Finders Instagram | @foodfinderslbc

“Exciting news! We want to extend a thank you to [Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center] for believing in our mission and supporting our organization’s future. They donated $66,446 which will go directly towards our food hubs. With this funding we will be able to buy our first refrigerated storage container so we can host food hub distributions in the various areas of Long Beach that are considered “food deserts”, Food Finders said.

A food desert is a certain area where access to healthy and nutritious food is restricted or non-existent due to the lack of grocery stores in that specific area. If you live in Southern California and are currently in need of an immediate food source, visit foodfinders.org to find a local food pantry or meal distribution in your area. Currently Long Beach has over 25 partners assisting with Food Finders.

Founded in 1989, Project Angel Food has expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver medically tailored meals and nutritional counseling services to more than 2,300 people per day in the Los Angeles County. This is an increase of 54% from their pre-pandemic numbers. Yearly, they are estimated to deliver over one million meals.

Pictured (left to right): Kit Katz, St. Mary’s Director of Community Benefits,
Ron Sierra, Project
Angel Food, and Sister Celeste Trahan, St. Mary’s Vice President of Mission Integration.

“Not only is Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center funding dozens of people living with critical illness in Long Beach, they are helping us deliver the meals. When the pandemic struck and our volunteers cancelled their shifts one after another, staffers from Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center rolled up their sleeves and started delivering so that no one missed a meal. This represents the true meaning of a partnership,” Richard Ayoub, Executive Director, Project Angel Food said.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and are unable to independently access healthy food, visit angelfood.org to apply for Project Angel Food’s home delivery. Enrollment forms are available in both English and Spanish.

Since 1991, Dignity Health has awarded $80 million to 3,600 community-based health improvement projects through its Community Grants Program. Organizations that receive grant funds are working to improve access to jobs, housing, food, education, and health care for people in low-income and minority communities.

For more information, please visit dignityhealth.org/about-us/community-health/grant-programs.

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