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UT Physicians steps up for the Houston Food Bank

Written By: Simone Sonnier, UT Physicians | Updated: March 2, 2020
Sahar Qashqai, executive director of Healthcare Transformation Initiatives, delivers donation to the Houston Food Bank on behalf of UT Physicians.

Sahar Qashqai, executive director of Healthcare Transformation Initiatives, delivers donation to the Houston Food Bank on behalf of UT Physicians.

For years, UT Physicians and the Houston Food Bank have collaborated to help the community we both serve. Following a loss of nearly two million pounds of perishable items due an ammonia leak in November 2019, we knew we had to answer their call for help.

“We have a longstanding collaborative relationship between UT Physicians and the Houston Food Bank. We’ve worked together for years on the Food RX and other programs addressing food insecurity issues for our patients and community. So when we heard about the refrigeration crisis and Houston Food Bank losing 1.8 million pounds of food, we knew we had to help. Providers and staff banned together to collect food and funds,” said Sahar Qashqai, executive director of Healthcare Transformation Initiatives at UT Physicians.

The first step was to put donation boxes in the lobbies of UT Physicians clinics to help collect nonperishable food items. Both employees and patients graciously donated to those boxes.

The second and final step was to institute Jean Day Fridays. For a small cost of $5, employees could wear jeans on Fridays and contribute to the Houston Food Bank. According to the Houston Food Bank, for every $10 raised, they are able to feed 30 people.

From November through January, employees graciously contributed to the Jean Day Friday’s fund – not only excited to wear comfy clothes at work, but eager to contribute to the need for food in their community.

After tallying up the final donations, $1,680 was raised to help the Houston Food Bank build back up their stockpile of perishable items.

“We are so grateful for friends like UT Physicians who see the need and lend a helping hand to ensure no one goes hungry in their community,” said Lorena Avillaneda, community engagement coordinator with the Houston Food Bank. “This compassionate support will enable us to provide 5,162 healthy, nourishing meals to children, seniors, and working families across 18 counties in Southeast Texas. Together, we are building a healthier and empowered community.”

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.