A Surplus of Kindness

Oak Park, IL (July 13, 2015) —
Wasting food is not an option at Rush Oak Park Hospital. Not when more than 6,000 individuals residing in the Oak Park community do not have consistent access to adequate food.

To address this need, the hospital recently began redistributing surplus food from its employee and patient cafeteria to the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. Since the start of the effort, known as the Surplus Project, Rush Oak Park Hospital has repackaged more than 100 meals per week.

The hospital employees volunteering with the Surplus Project all have received the food handler certifications that state and federal laws require for people to repackage prepared foods into individual servings.

“The Surplus Project has been a collaborative effort by hospital staff and community organizers to bring this campaign to life,” says Jennifer Grenier, unit director of the Telemetry Department at Rush Oak Park Hospital and a member of the Surplus Project team. “We’re pleased the model is helping eliminate food insecurity in the community.”

In addition to providing food for clients at the food pantry, hospital nurses and nursing assistants perform simple health screenings and distribute health care information.

“We’re honored to be one of the first participants to redistribute surplus food to Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry and provide additional health care to its clients,” says Bruce Elegant, president and CEO at ROPH. “We’re committed to finding new and innovative ways to serve our community.”