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September 28, 2012

Expanding Services in Shady Grove

Food & Friends has served Montgomery County for many years. Last year, we provided about 115,000 meals to 344 residents.

We know that many more people are in need of Food & Friends’ services and we always have our eye on how to care for more children and adults. The fastest population growth in Montgomery County is outside the Beltway. We’ve been looking at this and have decided we should further expand our care to patients served by Shady Grove Adventist Hospital located in Rockville, Maryland.

Shady Grove is a big facility and has expanded its programs in recent years serving the rapidly growing upcounty and outside the Beltway residents. The Hospital includes a growing Comprehensive Cancer Program which will increase the number of referrals we receive from Shady Grove. We expect to add about 100 Shady Grove patients plus family members during 2013 providing these clients with 55,000 meals as well as nutrition counseling.

While Montgomery County, taken altogether, is relatively affluent, this is not true for most of the residents we care for. Fifty-seven percent of our County clients have household incomes of less than $2,000 a month. In Montgomery County, as elsewhere, we know that low-income residents often face difficult choices in meeting basic needs for nutritious food versus obtaining medical care and otherwise live on very tight budgets.

Our intention is to increasingly care for a broad range of our neighbors facing critical health challenges without limitation as to specific illnesses. In no way will we diminish our services to patients living with HIV/AIDS in Montgomery County or anywhere in Greater Washington.

All of this is important because after almost 25 years, Food & Friends remains the sole provider of home-delivered and medically-oriented nutrition services. Understanding that this work rests on us alone, we must always be working to provide for more residents. Just as we are attentive to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the individuals and families facing a range of profound illnesses count on us.

We have great working relationships with health professionals in the Montgomery County Government and with many other suburban referral partners. We’re looking forward to this expansion. I might add that Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is supportive of our work. We are hopeful that the State of Maryland will soon increase our funding so as to partner with us in this and other expanded service in Maryland.

In subsequent blogs, I’ll share with you some of our plans for other jurisdictions. You can count on Food & Friends to continue our expansion so as to reach a growing number of critically-ill residents –our neighbors.

Always your friend,

Craig Shniderman
Executive Director

Craig Shniderman has led Food & Friends as the Executive Director since April 1995. He is a native of the Washington area and has lived and worked in Greater Washington for almost his entire career.

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