Agnesian HealthCare provides support to Fondy Food Pantry

Shelly Haberman
Food Pantry

MyPlate - from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - provides a reminder for individuals to find healthy eating styles and build it throughout their lifetime. Everything individuals eat and drink matters. The right mix can help for a healthier now and in the future.

MyPlate supports a focus on variety, amount and nutrition. It encourages people to choose foods and beverages with less saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. MyPlate supports healthy eating for everyone and encourages them to start with small changes to build healthier eating styles.

This message is central to the mission of the Fondy Food Pantry, which has been keeping food on the table for Fond du Lac residents in need since 1973. With the assistance of local organizations, the food pantry is able to provide food to county residents who are experiencing financial hardship. This walk-in pantry provides as much nutritious food to their clients as possible.

“Unfortunately, food items like milk and eggs are a rare commodity to be able to give as they are not donated often,” according to Marsha Lemmenes, Fondy Food Pantry grant writer. “Milk and eggs provide necessary protein and calcium and are used in a variety of ways to prepare healthy food options.”

Agnesian HealthCare, a member of SSM Health, has teamed up with the Fondy Food Pantry to support their milk and eggs initiative. Through a donation, Agnesian HealthCare will be providing milk and eggs for a year.

“We truly appreciate Agnesian HealthCare’s partnership on this important initiative,” says Sandy Breth, Fondy Food Pantry president. “We are constantly on the lookout for new sources for donated foods, reasonable wholesale foods and new opportunities to partner for those commodities that are heavily used by our clients and fulfill the nutrition requirements. Over the course of this past year, we have found that both of these items, milk and eggs, are rarely donated and rarely available through Feeding America or any other source at a reduced or wholesale cost.”

To help offer these products more consistently, the Fondy Food Pantry launched its dairy and egg initiative and began our search for a sponsor for these two commodities.

“With this wonderful grant from Agnesian HealthCare, the Fondy Food Pantry will now be able to supply one gallon of milk and one dozen of eggs to each household for the next 12 months,” according to Breth. “Our Board of Directors is thankful for such a gracious gift that will help us fulfill our mission of providing healthy foods for those who are food insecure in our community.”

The donation complements efforts by Agnesian HealthCare to focus on methods to reduce hospital readmissions, specifically for those patients with congestive heart failure and diabetes. 

Like the Fondy Food Pantry, it was identified that some patients are financially unable to comply with specific diets, some of which had high readmissions rates or were identified as being a high risk for hospitalizations.

“One step we have taken is to collaborate with the Fondy Food Pantry to create diet-specific boxes of non-perishable foods, with the provision of fresh produce year-round for patients and community members who utilize the food pantry,” according to Jill Wenzel, director of Agnesian HealthCare’s population health/care management. “This program is designed to improve the overall health and quality of life for patients, community benefit and decreased readmissions costs.” 

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