Children’s National Hospital is participating in a groundbreaking usage of the Breadcoin food token, a tool to feed the community. Children’s, beginning today, is both a distribution partner and a Breadcoin vendor.
Imagine a scenario where someone already struggling to pay for food for their family has a child admitted to the hospital or who needs to visit there regularly for treatment. In addition to food-insecurity, now there is the stress inherent in a potentially frightening situation and, also, the need to eat meals in or around the hospital during the confinement.
Social workers at Children’s, under the direction of Gayle Gilmore (Manager of Family Services) and Brenda Shepherd-Vernon (Director, Social Work, Chaplaincy and Language Services) are using Breadcoins to give a range of food options to these families they serve. The Breadcoins can be used directly in the hospital during a stay or at other vendors around DC and Baltimore to allow these families in crisis situations to get a meal on the way home, the next day or as needed. This alleviates that extra stress of “how will I feed the family?” at a time when a child is sick.
Ryan Maddock, who oversees the Emergency Department’s social work component, and Heidi Colbert, who leads Outpatient Dialysis social workers, will be piloting the use of the coins in their departments first, and as additional funding is added from our generous Breadcoin members, Children’s will be able to extend the use of Breadcoins to satellite locations and other departments, giving more and more families access to an additional way to get food around a stressful hospital stay.
The Dr. Bear’s Café and Café Express accept Breadcoins like cash for their $2.20 value. Families can choose what to eat including a salad from the Salad Robot! As with all our vendors, our Breadcoin team collects the Breadcoins redeemed by recipients and pays Morrison Healthcare, which is flexibly innovating to adapt this additional way for its employees to help feed the community through the Breadcoin food token. We appreciate the work of Genevieve Potvin, Senior Director of Nutrition Services, and Cheryl Brown, Assistant Director of Operations, on Morrison’s end, who have worked to implement the plan.
And we are excited about the potential of this micro-economy within the hospital (and beyond) that links those who are hungry or food-insecure with an extra level of care by the hospital social work department and a food service company that cares about more than the bottom line.
The possibilities are limitless in this partnership where the need is great. The ability to help hurting families thrills everybody involved. Thank you to our current Breadcoin members who make this partnership (and so many other nonprofit partnerships) possible.
To become a Breadcoin member for $25/month and put more coins into the hands of social workers in relationship with families with a child being treated at Children’s, click here.