RUIDOSO, N.M. – Starting Sunday, October 15, children visiting Lincoln County Medical Center will have access to free, healthy meals, due to an innovative partnership between Presbyterian Healthcare Services, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Southwest Region and the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
LCMC will offer the free meals to all children 1-18 who are visiting the hospital, regardless of income, seven days a week between 12 p.m. and 1:30- p.m. LCMC will be the fifth Presbyterian facility to offer the program, which began in February 2016 when Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis, Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque and Socorro General Hospital became the first hospitals in New Mexico to offer free meals for children. The program expanded to Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital in Albuquerque in fall 2016.
"At Lincoln County Medical Center, we are committed to improving the health of our entire community," said Todd Oberheu, LCMC administrator. "We know that children are healthier and perform better in school when they have nutritious food to eat, and so we are thrilled to offer this free meal program for any child visiting our hospital."
The USDA operates the federally-funded, state-administered Child and Adult Care Food Program during the school year and the Summer Food Service Program in the summer to serve healthy meals to kids and teens in low-income areas at no charge. As part of the program, hospitals provide select healthy options and receive reimbursement from the USDA. Food must be eaten at the hospitals.
As of October 1, the program had provided nearly 15,700 meals at the current four Presbyterian hospitals.
In New Mexico, one in six residents struggle with hunger and the state is tied with Arkansas for the second-highest rate of food insecurity among children, according to Feeding America. Presbyterian focuses on improving access to healthy food through support of cooking classes, farmer's market incentive programs, a mobile farmer's market, community gardens, and more. Please see www.phs.org for more information.
Starting October 15, 2017, free meals for children 1-18 are available at Lincoln County Medical Center every day from 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
About Presbyterian Healthcare Services
Presbyterian Healthcare Services exists to improve the health of patients, members and the communities we serve. Presbyterian is a locally owned, not-for-profit healthcare system of eight hospitals, a statewide health plan and a growing multi-specialty medical group. Founded in New Mexico in 1908, it is the state's largest private employer with more than 11,000 employees.