Deanna Bradburn has worked as a clinical dietitian for more than 10 years in inpatient and outpatient facilities. She’s currently the associate chief for the clinical section for nutrition and food services for the Patriots Food Pantry, slated to open at the Reno VA Medical Center, 975 Kirman Ave., in November.
How did the pantry come about?
With our extensive work with veterans in the hospital setting and the outpatient settings, we have noticed an increase in the amount of veterans identifying as being food insecure. Though you may not think it is a problem in our country, many households have limited or uncertain access to adequate food—or “food insecurity.” After looking into resources and different options, one of our dietitians, Thea Kimura, was able to find a new program from the Food Bank of Northern Nevada called the Prescription Pantry program. This program is funded by Healthy Nevada grant from the state of Nevada. The prescription pantry requires a provider to write a prescription to access healthy food items from a number of food pantries around town. They have options of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins to allow them to make healthier meal choices. In July of 2022, we were able to partner with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada to be able to have the veterans have access to the prescription food pantries in Washoe County and rural … counties across Northern Nevada.
A year after we had been offering the prescription to veterans, we noticed the increased number of veterans using this service and decided it would be a huge benefit for our community to be able to offer a food pantry at the VA hospital as another option to allow resources for food. The pantry will be available for the veterans in need, to allow easy access to food for those who are outpatients or those who are getting discharged from the hospital. Those experiencing food insecurity are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, which adds to the complexity of treating veterans. For veterans to qualify, they must be screened or identify that they have difficulty with access to food. A VA provider can write the prescription for that veteran to visit any location at the participating pantries, both locally and in rural areas.
Where will the food pantry be located? How do the veterans contact you for help?
The food pantry will be located at the main VA hospital campus. It is planned to be opening in November for veteran use. They can call me at 775-326-5793, or call community services at the main desk, 775-786-7200. There are also seven other locations in town for a prescription pantry that could be used by veterans; just contact their provider at the VA to determine if they are eligible for the program. Also, they can visit the FBNN (the Food Bank of Northern Nevada) Mobile Harvest at Capitol Hill VOC (Veterans Outreach Center), the third Monday of every month from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and FBNN SNAP Outreach staff at Capitol Hill VOC, the second and fourth Fridays of every month from 9 a.m. to noon.
How can the community help?
If they would like to help out, they could donate funds to Community Affairs in the VA for the Capitol Hill Veterans Outreach Center, or donate to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.