“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
As our 2014 annual banquet was coming to a close, Dr. Allen Hamdan made a bee-line in my direction, and I knew exactly what he was going to ask. Sure enough, he wanted to host a second Food is Medicine event and declared that he was going to double the number of attendees AND the amount of money raised… how could I say no?
Dr. Allen Hamdan, Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has been a friend of The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) for many years. Like many in his profession, he believes in the direct correlation between healthy food and a healthy life. Allen also serves on the Committee for Social Responsibility at BIDMC, and as part of his commitment to making a differences in people’s lives, he developed Food is Medicine. Food is Medicine is an awareness campaign focused on educating people on the connection between food and health. The campaign generates awareness of GBFB and our mission, and fundraises on behalf of GBFB so we can provide food for nutritious meals to those in need. GBFB has a longstanding commitment to promoting healthy lives. Currently, 26% of our annual 50 million pound distribution is comprised of fresh produce. And, 80% of our distribution meets the highest nutrition standards. This means offering fresh fruit and vegetables instead of canned processed product.
On Thursday, September 18th, over $45,000 was raised at the 2nd Annual Food is Medicine Event., Dr. Hamdan and his army of over 200 supporters from the medical community in Boston raised enough to provide 135,000 healthy meals to those in need. Guests gathered at GBFB’s 117,000 square foot warehouse for a wonderful evening full of friends and colleagues, tours of GBFB, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and a silent. A speaking program included inspiring commentary from Dr. Hamdan, Dr. Kevin Tabb, Dr. Elliot L. Chaikof, and Catherine D’Amato, GBFB’s CEO and President. They all touched on hunger as a medical issue stating that food truly is medicine and without the proper, people have an increased risk of obesity, and other systemic health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. By providing the basic need of food for people in need, those people are then able to focus on contributing to their communities in other ways; at work and at school. They encouraged the entire medical community and everyone in the room to help to end hunger here in Eastern Massachusetts.
The event was a smashing success and as promised, Allen and his team doubled the attendance and raised double the amount of money that he did in 2013. As the evening ended and I collected the last linen in the room, put away the last clip board and slipped off my heels, Allen came over to me and said, “Same time next year?”
Remember, together, we can end hunger here.
By: Carlen Singmaster, GBFB Events Manager
Be sure to tag yourself in the 2nd Annual Food is Medicine album.