A new pilot program, which officially launched with help from state senator Ben Allen (D) and California assembly members Blanca Rubio (D) and Richard Bloom (D), will fund six nonprofit organizations throughout California that will deliver free meals to those who are insured by Medicaid and need a specific diet to help them manage their medical condition.
Caren Latney was too weak to do simple household chores.
The 51-year-old had been diagnosed with lung cancer and, as she began treatment, struggled to stand over her stove long enough to prepare a meal. She didn’t really want to eat, anyway ― her intensive chemotherapy and radiation left her nauseated and exhausted. But high-calorie, protein-rich meals are essential for cancer patients, who face extreme weight loss, according to cancer experts.
The American Cancer Society recommends eating with other family members to make meals more enjoyable, and has suggestions for caregivers like fixing six to eight small meals, making smoothies and preparing bland foods to keep nausea at bay. But Latney, single with no family and on a fixed income, had no one available to help her prepare food. Insured by both Medicaid and Medicare for her cancer treatment, Latney couldn’t even afford to buy the amount of food required to survive her treatment, much less cook it.