Regina Meals Financial institution helps shoppers deal with diabetes

Struggling to find affordable healthy food can be challenging — especially for those dealing with diabetes.

That’s why the Regina Food Bank has a special service geared toward their diabetic clients.

The organization has offered a diabetes screening program and other related programming since 2007.

“There is a higher prevalence of diabetes in people who are experiencing hunger and food insecurity,” said Laura Murray, director of community programming.

“If people are food bank clients and they’re skipping meals or going without meals, it makes it harder to manage your health.”

Murray said their symptoms for diabetes can often be overlooked.

“They come along so slowly and people find excuses. ‘Oh, I’m tired because I didn’t sleep well last night.’ ‘Oh, I’m going to the washroom a lot because I drink more water.’ They’re so easy to push aside,” said Murray.

Community partners

The Regina Food Bank works with many community partners to offer diabetes education to their clients, including local pharmacies, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the metabolic clinic at the Regina General Hospital.

The goal with these partnerships is to open up a dialogue and connect clients with the services and supports they need in the community.

“It really comes down to those volunteers to make the connections, start the conversation, and be engaging around people’s health,” said Murray.

The Regina Food Bank sees 8,500 to 9,500 requests in a month, so Murray said having these partners to spend one-on-one time with clients to help create change is vital.

Although Murray said it’s hard to measure results because the program is about relationship building, she sees it as a success when clients don’t have to come by as often because they are doing well.

“We’re always a resource for our clients if they want to know who to talk to about something, we’ll always help connect them in the right direction,” said Murray.

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