July 20, 2023 | NeighborsVolunteers

Rx Mobile Market—Saving Lives

“You are saving our lives by providing healthy food.”

Sirenio picks up healthy food at the
Rx Mobile Market in Waukegan, a
partnership with Erie Family Health.

Sirenio’s life changed when he received his diagnosis. Chances are you know and love someone whose life has also been altered by diabetes. It’s a disease that affects every part of a patient’s life and without management, can be fatal. But there’s hope for patients in Northern Illinois, thanks to innovative partnerships and generous donors.

The risk of diabetes among those who are food insecure is about two times higher than those who are not food insecure. Feeding America estimates that 33% of the households it serves include someone diagnosed with diabetes. Building a healthy eating pattern is critical to maintain good health, wellbeing, and to prevent, delay, or manage diabetes.

Northern Illinois Food Bank has developed partnerships with area healthcare providers. One of the innovative programs to come out of these partnerships is the Rx Mobile Market program—a way for those who suffer from diabetes and other diet-related illnesses to obtain free, health-smart food like lean meat and fresh produce. Patients are referred to this program by their healthcare provider. It’s a reliable resource for neighbors like Sirenio, who is 51 and disabled due to complications from diabetes. “Due to my health, I cannot work, and healthy food is expensive. Before, I used to eat whatever I could get, and it made my health issues worse.”

Now, a healthier diet is Sirenio’s prescription for regaining his independence. It’s taken time and effort, but his health is getting better. Since improving his diet through the Rx Mobile Market program, Sirenio has seen real benefits. His eyesight has improved, the circulation problem that plagued his feet has lessened, and he’s happier.

Sirenio is grateful for the access to healthy food. “It helps me and a lot of people who don’t have the means to get food.” Speaking for others who face health and hunger challenges in our community, he says, “You are saving our lives by providing healthy food.”