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For Immediate Release: January 16, 2017

AtlantiCare, Community FoodBank
of New Jersey, Southern Branch mark opening of new food pantry

AtlantiCare and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch, marked the opening of a year-round food pantry –Pantry at the Plex – at the William L. Gormley AtlantiCare HealthPlex in Atlantic City with a ribbon cutting and special tour on January 11. The pantry, which had a soft opening December 14, serves low-income patients receiving healthcare services at the HealthPlex. Pantry hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Engelmann Festa Kincaid Uniacke Herndon CharltonLaura Engelmann, MHA, community health and wellness manager, AtlantiCare; Sandy Festa, MSW, administrative director, AtlantiCare HealthPlex; Rosalind Kincaid, AtlantiCare Regional Health Services Board member and chair, AtlantiCare Mission HealthCare Board; Richard Uniacke, vice president, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch; Lori Herndon, president and CEO, AtlantiCare; and Michael Charlton, vice chairman, AtlantiCare System Board, cut the ribbon on the Pantry at the Plex at the AtlantiCare HealthPlex in Atlantic City on January 11, 2017.

“We have long known that it’s not enough to provide just healthcare to our community,” said Lori Herndon, president and CEO, AtlantiCare. “This food pantry is a unique way for AtlantiCare to broaden its scope in providing comprehensive patient care.”

“We’re committed to assisting our more than 9,000 patients reduce the many barriers that might impede them from enjoying a lifetime of health,” said Sandy Festa, MSW, administrative director, AtlantiCare HealthPlex. “We’ve done this by providing an on-site pharmacy to patients to ensure that they get their medications timely, and by offering health coaches. Now, we have another resource to better meet our patients needs – a food pantry for patients to pick up healthy foods.”

Michael Charlton vice chairman AtlantiCare System Board and Lori Herndon president and CEO AtlantiCare browse the food pantryMichael Charlton, vice chairman, AtlantiCare System Board, and Lori Herndon, president and CEO, AtlantiCare discuss the benefits of the food pantry after the ribbon cutting, January 11, 2017.

Richard Uniacke, vice president, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch, remarked, “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with AtlantiCare and the HealthPlex in this way. What began just a few months ago as a new Mobile Pantry stop to provide food for HealthPlex patients, has evolved into the ideal scenario wherein the food they need is on site and can be prescribed as part of their care.”

Healthcare providers will write a prescription for healthy food for individuals in need. The prescription will serve as a voucher for patients to receive a three- to four-day supply of healthy food items. The once-monthly supply of healthy food is intended to be enough to feed up to a family of four for three to four days.

Each pantry bag is stocked with healthy food itemsEach Pantry at the Plex bag is stocked with healthy food items. The once-monthly supply of healthy food is intended to be enough to feed up to a family of four for three to four days.

The healthy food prescription will be good for the day of the patient’s visit only, unless the care team makes other arrangements. The pantry is located in a private area of the HealthPlex to maintain patient privacy.

Following the ribbon cutting, Chef Brianna Manning of Kitchen 19 Creative Culinary Center in Hammonton, NJ, and a member of AtlantiCare’s Growing Green Chefs Council, led a healthy cooking demonstration using items from the pantry to prepare bean and cabbage soup.

Herndon Long KirklandLori Herndon, president and CEO, AtlantiCare, and Vinnie Kirkland, case manager, AtlantiCare, present Nikki Long, of Atlantic City, with a Pantry at the Plex bag stocked with healthy food items, January 11, 2017.

For more information about AtlantiCare’s Pantry at the Plex, visit www.atlanticare.org, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1-888-569-1000. For more information about making a donation to the AtlantiCare Foundation, visit the Foundation’s web page or call 888-569-1000.

Patients can also receive nutrition education resources and other health and wellness information when they access the pantry. Pantry items are selected based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines for healthy eating.

Organizations, businesses and individuals can contribute to AtlantiCare’s Pantry at the Plex by making a donation to the AtlantiCare Foundation.

About the AtlantiCare Foundation
The AtlantiCare Foundation exists to improve the health and well-being of the community through a comprehensive development program to support safe, equitable, quality health care; and to promote healthy behaviors. The Foundation is committed to providing financial resources to help fund health status improvement, which includes supporting the programs and capital expansion projects at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center and its affiliates. The Foundation accomplishes its work through the formation of trusting relationships with key stakeholders and community partners that share its vision of building healthy communities.

About AtlantiCare's Growing Green Initiative
AtlantiCare's Growing Green initiative is a school and community garden program aimed at improving access to healthy foods. Since 2009, the initiative’s garden construction and sustainability grants have supported 56 school gardens and 21 community gardens. In addition to these funds, Growing Green offers complementary educational programming led by health educators, dieticians, garden experts, and academic scholars.

The AtlantiCare Growing Green Chef Council is a distinguished group of culinary experts working in the greater Atlantic City area. The Council is committed to increasing access to healthy food for community members, and to providing them with the food preparation skills necessary to lead healthier lives. The Growing Green Chef Council uses its passion, expertise, and circles of influence to support the growth and sustainability of AtlantiCare's Growing Green initiative.

Contacts:
Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446, jennifer.tornetta@atlanticare.org 
Heather Costabile, (O) 609-653-0400 x112, heather.costabile@atlanticare.org 
Richard Uniacke, (O) 609-383-8843 Ext.109, runiacke@cfbnj.org 

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AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger Health System, is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,500 employees and more than 900 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.

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