Lakewood Engage, Lakewood’s community health initiative, was recently awarded the Expanding Food Access grant from the Minnesota Department of Education for $96,248.27. The grant is intended to address food insecurities related to the impact of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, according to a Lakewood Health news release.

The Meals at COVID+ initiative launched in early October and will provide 14 homemade frozen meals (including milk) for all members of the household for any Lakewood patient testing positive for COVID-19 who meets food insecurity criteria, according to the release.

“Food insecurity isn’t just about hunger, it describes a household’s ability to purchase, prepare and afford a sufficient quantity of healthy food. COVID-19 brings on a variety of complex challenges for families to face while staying home and staying safe,” Lakewood Director of Community Health Alicia Bauman said in the release. “This grant allows Lakewood Health System to support patients and their families who are dealing with a COVID-19 diagnosis, by overcoming complex barriers related to healthy eating and healing.”

The meals are prepared by Hilltop Kitchen in Eagle Bend and delivered, contact-free, to the patient’s home.

This includes patients in Lakewood’s clinics, those discharged from the hospital or emergency department and employees at Lakewood and its occupational health sites.

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In addition to funding Meals at COVID+, the grant will also support the Cardinal PAX program which provides weekend meals for school-age children.

The grant funding period ends Dec. 31 but will be reassessed if there is continued need, according to the release.