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SJCH and Community Partners Offer Food Gifting Program to Families

Healing Meals-02Healing Meals Assures Nutritious Meals for Ill Children

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital has launched the first Healing Meals food gifting program in Passaic County.  Healing Meals provides nutritious meals for families with children undergoing treatment for cancer, serious blood disorders and sickle cell anemia distributed through the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.

Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, founder of HealthBarn USA and director of HealthBarn Foundation, launched this one-of-kind food gifting program in 2014, in collaboration with community partners to assure that all children have access to healthy meals when their nutritional needs are heightened.  “We are thrilled to welcome the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital community into this dynamic partnership of serving others in need.  We are committed to supporting families during this stressful time with the gift of food and to make sure that all children in treatment have access to good nutrition through delicious meals made with love,” said Stacey Antine.

“This partnership with Healing Meals supports the mission of our Clinical Nutrition Department; as every day we encourage our patients and community to making nutritious food choices, in order to improve the healing process and promote healthful lifestyles,” says Lara Zamajtuk, MS, RDN, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for St. Joseph’s Health.  

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital staff hand selected the kid-tested, family-friendly recipes from Appetite for Life, a child-friendly cookbook authored by Antine.  Culinary student volunteers from the Bergen County Academies’ SkillsUSA Club in Hackensack prepare the recipes at No Fuss Lunch commercial kitchen in Hawthorne, NJ using fresh, natural and organic foods donated by Whole Foods Market locations in Edgewater, Paramus and Ridgewood.  The HealthBarn Foundation oversees the operation and provides additional ingredients and packaging.  A variety of Healing Meals’ breakfast items, soups, dinners and snacks are made readily available on the treatment floor in a Whirlpool freezer donated by Reno’s Appliance of Paterson.

“The Healing Meals program will enable our families to take home a nutritious meal after spending a long day at the hospital. It also helps our staff educate families about healthy food choices, and now we can literally hand the family this amazing gift,” says Jill Menell, MD, Chief of Pediatric Hemotology/Oncology at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.

The HealthBarn Foundation’s program has distributed over 6,000 Healing Meals since it was introduced at Tomorrows Children’s Fund, Hackensack University Medical Center in 2014.  Funding for this program is made possible through public donations at www.healthbarnfoundation.org.

HealthBarn Foundation is a New Jersey non-profit organization and a federally recognized 501(c)(3) public charity with a mission to gift children and families healthy food through access and in conjunction with nutrition education. There are currently three initiatives that are being funded with generous support from the public including: Healing Meals, Garden-to-Table Scholarships and School Nutrition Education. Email info@healthbarnfoundation.org or call 201.241.2774 for more information. 

August 26, 2015