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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fighting Diabetes and Hunger

Redwood Empire Food Bank 
Awarded Grant to Fight Diabetes
By Miriam Wilding

The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB), part of the Feeding America network of food banks, marked World Diabetes Day by announcing an $800,000 grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to help communities and populations disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes. The grant is part of a $3.1 million commitment to Feeding America as part of Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Together on Diabetes: Communities Uniting to Meet America’s Diabetes Challenge®, a five-year, $100 million initiative to improve health outcomes for people living with type 2 diabetes in the United States.

“Type 2 diabetes is a substantial health issue in Sonoma County,” said David Goodman, executive director of the Redwood Empire Food Bank. “This grant allows us to distribute diabetes-friendly food boxes, fresh produce, and diabetes education materials to clients facing food insecurity who are receiving medical services at several of the clinic and hospital sites throughout rural, suburban, and urban areas of Sonoma County.”

Sonoma County healthcare partners will identify clients with diabetes who are also food insecure and refer them to the food bank. In turn, REFB will refer food bank clients not receiving primary medical care to the appropriate healthcare partners. Food boxes and fresh produce will provide clients a steady source of nutritious food and serve as an example of the types of food to consume in order to help them manage type 2 diabetes. Along with the non-perishable food and fresh produce, educational materials will be provided to encourage and assist clients in the management of their diabetes through healthy eating.

“Food insecurity and diabetes are public health challenges often found in the same vulnerable communities.  Individuals struggling to afford a healthy diet cannot manage their diabetes effectively.” said Michelle Berger Marshall, MS, RD, LDN, Director of Nutrition at Feeding America. “This project provides a unique opportunity for food banks and their partners to identify and support individuals who face a dual burden of type 2 diabetes and limited resources. With access to appropriate food, these individuals will be better able to follow the recommendations of their health care providers and manage their disease.”


The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB), Sonoma County’s largest hunger-relief organization, has been in operation since 1987. The REFB provides food to over 78,000 people every month through its own three Hunger Initiatives and a network of 149 charitable organizations throughout Sonoma County. The REFB also helps smaller food banks and charitable organizations acquire food in Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Over 13 million pounds of food is distributed annually, the equivalent of 28,000 meals each day. For more information, visit

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. 

For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit Find us on Facebook at or follow our news on Twitter at

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes around the world for people disproportionately affected by serious disease.

Redwood Empire Food Bank
3320 Industrial Drive Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Office Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

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