Helping Out Cancer Patients, One Meal At A Time
Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s Vernon Cancer Center is teaming with Healthy Habits Kitchen to start a meal delivery plan for patients, and it’s the first program of its kind in Massachusetts. Christina Chiu, a clinical dietitian at Newton-Wellesley, says the program’s goal is easing the fatigue, appetite loss, and the soaring medical bills that can come with cancer treatment. “It was our aim at the hospital to really be able to provide these patients with easy access to meals and healthy meals during this difficult time,” she says.
For $125 a month, patients receive four minimal-prep, family-sized frozen meal kits, made with local produce and healthy ingredients, all delivered straight to their door. Chiu works with each patient to determine his or her specific dietary needs and preferences, and then Healthy Habits Kitchen owner Sue Schochet and her team incorporate those needs into a monthly menu. “We’re really careful about the meals that we select on our end,” Schochet says. “We always consult with Newton-Wellesley to make sure that the meal selection fits in with what makes sense for the patients and the caregivers.”
Since the program began in October, Chiu says the response from patients has been “overwhelmingly positive,” and she hopes to expand. “I think in general patients are just thankful that they have something to really back up their usual weekly meal plans,” Chiu says. “They can just pull something out of the freezer and be sure that it’s good for them as well as easy to prepare.”
Schochet says she’s pleased with the program’s success, and says that the service is an important way to help patients as they go through a difficult time, even if in just a small way. “It’s the day-to-day things, like cooking and cleaning and things like that, they’re the hardest things but they’re so fundamental,” Schochet says. “And this really addresses that issue right on.”