Healthy Food for Healthier Tomorrows Food & Nutrition Drive: HCA Healthcare donates 370,000 meals to local food banks

Donated food stacked around Lake Nona Medical Center banner

Did you know? According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than 10% of U.S. households (13.8 million) were food insecure at some time during 2020.

This holiday season, HCA Healthcare helped stock the shelves at food banks across the country as part of our organization’s Healthy Food for Healthier Tomorrows Food & Nutrition Drive.

By working with local food banks to collect and provide nutritious food for our communities, HCA Healthcare sought to address food insecurity – the lack of consistent access to enough food to have an active, healthy lifestyle.

Over the course of 30 days, HCA Healthcare colleagues across the country provided nearly 370,000 nutritious meals to food banks in the communities that we serve by donating food or making financial contributions to help purchase perishable items such as milk, fruit and vegetables.

The 370,000 nutritious meals that were provided to families in need included:

  • 77,830 meals donated by colleagues
  • 52,000 meals from colleague charitable donations
  • 240,000 meals from $60,000 in grants provided by the HCA Healthcare Foundation for the winning facilities and divisions of a creative food sculpture contest
Nurse managers at HCA Healthcare’s Ocala Regional Medical Center in Florida created a pumpkin pie structure out of food donated for the 2021 Healthy Food for Healthier Tomorrows Food & Nutrition Drive. Partnering with Vanguard High School, the hospital collected 5,966 pounds of food for Interfaith Emergency Services, Inc.

HCA Healthcare’s North Texas Division takes on food insecurity

At HCA Healthcare, we believe that all colleagues have the opportunity to make a difference, to positively influence outcomes for our patients and communities. Many of our most impactful programs have begun inside one of our hospitals or divisions, thanks to a colleague with a big idea. And, the Healthy Food for Healthier Tomorrows Food & Nutrition Drive is the perfect example of how one HCA Healthcare colleague can influence change.

When J. Maria Martineau, assistant vice president of community engagement at affiliate Medical City Healthcare, heard that food banks and pantries in North Texas were seeing a significant increase in demand for services during the COVID-19 pandemic, she immediately started to brainstorm ways to address the rising food insecurity in her community. She saw laid-off and furloughed neighbors struggling to put food on the table – and knew that Medical City Healthcare’s colleagues could show up, in more ways than one, to do the hard work needed to help their community.

Maria worked with leadership at the North Texas Division to launch the first-ever Healthy Food for Healthier Tomorrows Food & Nutrition Drive. Over a 10-day period leading up to Thanksgiving in 2020, colleagues at Medical City’s hospitals collected thousands of pounds of food and donated $10,000 to local food banks in North Texas. Additionally, Medical City’s hospitals participated in a friendly competition to build food structures from donated food. The winning entries earned cash grants for their food bank beneficiaries.

Across Medical City Healthcare hospitals in 2021, colleagues collected 28,000 pounds of food and donated $32,500 to North Texas food banks.

“Good nutrition is essential to good health,” said Erol Akdamar, FACHE, president of Medical City Healthcare. “Our ‘Healthy Foods for Healthier Tomorrows’ food drive is another important example of how our colleagues care for our community to improve more lives in more ways beyond the hospital walls.”

In 2021, Maria’s vision to address food insecurity spread to other HCA Healthcare facilities in other states. Working alongside HCA Healthcare’s corporate community engagement team and other division-based community engagement colleagues, Maria provided invaluable input to scale the food drive concept across our enterprise.  

Building’ healthier tomorrows for our communities

As HCA Healthcare expanded the food drive, hospitals across the country were encouraged to get creative and build sculptures with the donated food before transporting it to their local food banks. The prize? An additional grant to gift to a food bank in winning the hospital’s hometown to make an even greater impact.  

In 2021, nine HCA Healthcare divisions submitted food sculptures, with Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Caldwell, Idaho earning top honors and an additional $10,000 to donate to their local food bank.

Colleagues at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Caldwell, Idaho created a healthy sushi sculpture out of food donated as part of HCA Healthcare’s Healthy Food for Healthier Tomorrows Food and Nutrition Drive. Their creativity earned them an additional $10,000 to grant to their local food bank.
Citrus Memorial Hospital’s food drive benefited the Community Food Bank of Citrus County. The two-week donation drive amongst hospital caregivers resulted in an overall donation of 2,728 pounds of food and a $5,000 monetary donation.

Get involved

We believe that there are many ways to champion health and nutrition within our communities. For example, in addition to donating healthy food, you can volunteer at a local food bank or contribute to a nonprofit organization that helps provide healthy food in your community.

In addition, HCA Healthcare colleagues have the opportunity to track their volunteer hours online, and all benefits-eligible colleagues can double their impact with charitable gift matching and volunteer grants. Gift matching starts at $25, and colleagues can earn $200 for the charity of their choice by logging 10 hours of volunteer service.

The food drive at HCA Healthcare’s North Florida Regional Medical Center benefitted The Bread of the Mighty Food Bank to help those in need this holiday season.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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