Friday, April 2, 2021

MacNeal Hospital Launches Food Surplus Project

Staff volunteers pack and deliver approximately 150 meals a week for local shelters

MAYWOOD, IL – MacNeal Hospital, located in Berwyn, Illinois and part of Loyola Medicine, has launched the Surplus Project to package excess hospital and cafeteria food for delivery to nearby shelters and transitional housing.

Each Tuesday and Thursday morning, staff volunteers pack individual meals and desserts – labeled with nutrition information, including allergens – along with beverages, fruit, vegetables and other available food. The group packs approximately 75 meals each day, or 150 meals a week, adhering to strict state and local food safety guidelines. (View a video on the Surplus Project).

“Despite careful planning, hospitals typically have extra food that has been thawed, cooked and/or is ready to eat, but not needed,” said Jennifer Grenier, associate chief nursing officer at MacNeal Hospital, who oversees the program. “Our goal is to improve the nutritional health of the community. Through The Surplus Project, we are able share excess food and beverages that would otherwise go to waste with nearby food insecure families.”

Once the food is packed, MacNeal volunteers deliver meals to Housing Forward, a Maywood social service organization providing shelter and supportive housing in the western suburbs, and Housing Forward’s Sojourner House in Oak Park. Sojourner House is Loyola Medicine’s medical respite center offering housing to homeless individuals in need of healing and recuperation following hospital discharge.

“We know that hunger exacerbates a broad-range of health issues,” said Charles Bareis, MD, chief medical officer, MacNeal Hospital. “The Surplus Project allows us to provide additional support to Housing Forward and Sojourner House and the individuals and families they serve. I commend Jennifer Grenier for bringing this impactful program to MacNeal Hospital.”

Grenier, along with Nicole Wynn, manager of nursing excellence and Magnet© Program director at Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) in Maywood, are working to bring the Surplus Project to LUMC. Grenier and Fabiola Zavala, director, community health and well-being, MacNeal Hospital and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, are overseeing the program at MacNeal and Gottlieb.

Grenier and Wynn created the Surplus Project when they worked together at another local hospital. Since its creation in 2015, the program has launched at more than 17 hospitals throughout the U.S., including Riveredge Hospital and Penn Medicine.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.