Instead of just referring chronic disease patients to other agencies for food and clothing – basic items that everyone needs to be healthy – Mercy Health’s Antoinette Gover had an idea: Opening a food pantry and clothing closet to help all Mercy Health patients and employees in need.
Mercy Health launched Starting Fresh Resources in fall 2016 at Mercy Healthcare Center, 2200 Jefferson Ave., Toledo. Starting Fresh Resources provides food and clothing to qualified recipients, including clients getting care coordination services through the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio’s Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB.
Antoinette and fellow certified community health worker Tara Hayes both work through Pathways, a community-wide care coordination system that connects clients to needed medical care and social services. Antoinette and Tara assist Pathways clients with or at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.
Making sure people know how to receive community resources for food, clothing, housing, utilities, transportation and other basic needs is one of her biggest priorities, said Tara, who helps staff Starting Fresh Resources.
“You’d be surprised how many people don’t know about the different food pantries out there and other community resources,” Tara said.
For more information about Mercy Health’s Starting Fresh Resources, including how to make food and clothing donations, please contact Tara at TMHayes@mercy.com.