A new partnership between Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and two Southern California nonprofits is striving to prove that hospitals can serve the community in a broader sense.
For the past three months, Providence St. Joseph has been working with area nonprofits Food Finders and Ascencia to donate food from the hospital to those in need.
Carol Granados, director of hospitality services at St. Joe’s, said volunteers from Food Finders stop by the hospital twice a week to take excess food — ranging from breakfast items, entrees and desserts — from its cafeteria to the food pantry at Ascencia’s facility in Glendale.
Depending on the number of patients at the hospital, as well as whether the medical facility is hosting an event with guests, St. Joseph donates about 150 pounds of food each week to less-fortunate families that Ascencia works with, Granados added.
“There are items that are prepared that aren’t going to be used that can be given to an organization like Ascencia,” Granados said. “It seems like a no-brainer.”
Ascencia is a Glendale-based nonprofit that serves the area’s homeless population with shelter, housing and other programs. Food Finders, a 30-year-old organization, partners with grocery stores, restaurants and other entities in Southern California to collect and distribute perishable food to multiple nonprofits.
The Burbank hospital isn’t the only facility in the Providence medical group that participates in food donations.
Providence hospitals in Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach provided about 14,000 meals to the needy in 2018, and a hospital in Fullerton donated more than 7,000 pounds of food during that year, said Patricia Aidem, spokeswoman for Providence St. Joseph Health.
“It makes so much sense to donate excess food to those in our community who are in need,” Aidem said. “Our cooks take great pride creating nutritious and very appetizing meals.”