COVID-19 creates hunger emergency for cancer patients; Philly PD & Legacy of Hope respond.
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis has affected our country in unique ways, most of which our populations have never experienced before. Our healthiest citizens fear leaving the safety of their homes for staples and groceries due to the risk of exposure to this highly-contagious and devastating virus. This fear may only be superseded by those who are in high-risk populations and no one is at more risk than the immunocompromised cancer patients in our communities.
Legacy of Hope and the Philadelphia Police Department have joined forces with Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, and Brown’s Chef’s Market to quickly and effectively mitigate critical levels of hunger and malnutrition faced by our local cancer patients. Just this week Legacy of Hope was awarded a grant from Philadelphia’s PHL COVID-19 Fund for the extraordinary progress being made to help protect cancer patients during the COVID-19 crisis. At the beginning of this crisis, Legacy of Hope quickly scaled its operations to begin delivering two weeks of groceries at no cost to 96 cancer patients and their families every month. We are working around the clock with hospitals, the Philadelphia Police, and corporate partners to continue providing emergency support to an increasing number of cancer patients across Philadelphia. Here’s what we’re doing to help:
1. Cancer patients and families facing imminent hunger and other critical issues are identified by oncology social workers, who then work closely with Legacy of Hope’s Patient Support team. The team is able to quickly identify critical needs specific to each patient and provide emergency support.
2. Brown’s Chef’s Market, the parent company of ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer, receives and manages grocery orders out of three locations. As the initiative grows, this operation will expand to more locations.
3. Philadelphia Police officers drive to three grocery stores every week, load the groceries curbside, and then deliver each set of groceries to the homes of cancer patients across Philadelphia.
Cancer patients are being disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to their weakened immune systems. Patients are cautioned against leaving their homes and risking exposure, while healthy family members also avoid venturing into public areas for fear of bringing the virus home with them. Developing this program required a dedicated and focused effort by every organization in this multilateral partnership, but it has proven essential for so many Philadelphia cancer patients, including Mr. C.
An independent resident in a senior citizen’s home, 68-year-old Mr. C was diagnosed in April of 2018 with cancer, and has since been experiencing dire financial hardship. Most months, Mr. C must choose between groceries and his electric bill. He states, “Sometimes I'm afraid to get the mail because I don't know if I'll get another bill that I can't handle." He adds, "It's tough enough having a cancer diagnosis, but not knowing when you're going to eat is a whole different thing."
Fortunately for Mr. C and countless of others in Philadelphia battling cancer; providing groceries and making rent or utility payments is nothing new to Legacy of Hope. Every month Legacy of Hope provides groceries and other essentials such as clothes and school supplies for dozens of patients and families. Our team prevents eviction and homelessness by providing rent and mortgage payments, oftentimes renegotiating on behalf of a patient so future living accommodations will be more affordable. Electric and gas companies are on our speed dial so we can keep services turned on for patients who must choose which bills, if any, to pay each month.
"There's nobody else I can ask for help, you came along at just the right time and I can't thank you enough,” Mr. C told us. "I'm thoroughly and truthfully so grateful."
If our organization is the engine to provide support for cancer patients in their greatest time of need, your donations are the fuel that keeps us running. Please consider donating what you can and spread the word so we can continue to expand our efforts, so no cancer patient or family goes without food during this COVID-19 crisis.