New food pantry opens at Beacon Children’s Hospital

New Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Food Pantry opens at Beacon Children’s Hospital

We are seeing more and more kids each year. What is more distressing, is we’ve seen a dramatic increase in complicated cancer diagnoses. Within the last year, we started treatment for 140 new pediatric cancer patients.

When parents enter Beacon Children’s Hospital, they have a lot of concerns on their minds. Hunger should not be one of them. Approximately 60% of the children we serve are on Medicaid or self-pay. These families don’t have additional resources to pack a lunch or snacks. Children being treated in our pediatric hematology/oncology clinic spend up to 8 hours with us for each treatment or infusion. Some spend days, weeks and even months in our care. Walking to the cafeteria to buy a meal is well beyond the means of our families.

We understand caring for our kids includes supporting the whole family unit. In the Isaac Ray Steiner Family Resource Room, families in our Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program have access to nonperishable food items that can be used for meals or snacks any time they are here with us or to take home. Without limitations. Beacon is a proud partner with the Food Bank of Northern Indiana which provides reduced food item costs.

On average 60% of kids at Beacon Children’s Hospital are food-insecure. Nearly 1 in 4 households experienced food insecurity in 2020 which equates to about 32 million households. Even before the pandemic, an estimated 10.5% of U.S. households, on average, are food-insecure. Of children living in food-insecure households:

  •       146.5% are more likely to experience delayed medical care due to cost
  •       179% need care but will choose not to seek it out due to cost
  •       they are more likely to experience chronic health conditions

About Beacon Children’s Hospital

Having a critically ill or injured child is one of the most frightening things a parent can experience. At Beacon Children’s Hospital, we see more than 10,000 children each year, each with their own set of challenges. Some visit us for a day or two and some spend weeks and even months with us. Our children come to us with a broad range of health challenges, including cancer, sickle cell disease, asthma, developmental disorders, diabetes, trauma and more. As the region’s only children’s hospital, we support 31 referring hospitals in North Central Indiana and portions of Southwest Michigan. Because of you, we are keeping children and families close to home and near those they love, which is essential to their healing.

Story by: Jessica Koscher

Story date: 07/2021