Modeling Management and Control of Diabetes in Patrons of Airdrie Food Bank: A Pilot

The Cause

1) Develop a “diabetes friendly” food hamper based on the adapted Pure Prairie Eating Plan (“aPPEP”) and distribute to clients of the Airdrie Food Bank who have diabetes.
2) In collaboration with staff and clients of the Airdrie Food Bank, determine the appropriateness, accessibility and availability of ingredients and ease of use of the aPPEP recipes to support diabetes management and quality of life.
3) Finalize a 30-day meal plan which includes aPPEP recipes that have been adapted based on local consultation of the availability, affordability and accessibility of ingredients in the community.
4) Provide clients and administrators of the food bank with healthy eating, cooking and lifestyle education and training to support the prevention and management of diabetes through revision and adaptation of the Pure Prairie Eating Plan and Why Act Now intervention program. Intervention education and training will be two-pronged: one for children (eg. Decreasing soda and sugar consumption, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity; one for families (eg. importance of diabetes management such as the importance of blood sugar level balance and monitoring.
5) Assess clients using the Airdrie Food Bank: a) the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding diabetes and its complications; b) the barriers to, and opportunities for, diabetes prevention and management through adoption of a 30-day meal plan and education materials; c) barriers to, and opportunities for, diabetes prevention and management through available community services; d) barriers to accessing disease prevention and health care services in Airdrie.

Who Will it Benefit?

In March 2016, the Airdrie Food Bank served 584 clients and provided 222 food hampers versus 424 clients and 152 hampers in March 2015; this represents an increase of 37.7% and 46.1% in one year. Of the hampers provided in March 2016, approximately 10-15% of the patrons ask for the “diabetes-friendly” hampers; an ever-increasing and costly component to the Airdrie Food bank.

This project will assist people living with diabetes that are reliant on food bank assistance. Rather than just “feed” food bank patrons, the Alberta Food Bank Network is seeking to “nourish” them. Families with diabetes will learn to better manage this chronic and epidemic disease that affects people of all ages and all economic levels. Diabetic children are especially vulnerable, therefore educating their parents/caregivers to provide healthier lunches and snacks will be a primary focus. The focus of educating the patrons and their families will focus on building a healthier food basket, learning how to prepare unprocessed food products in an easier and delicious way, while maintaining a healthier balance to carbohydrates and proteins within their diets.