Loyolans for Others (in Uncertain Times)
Dietetics interns and nutrition students help provide healthy meals to vulnerable communities
Loyola University Chicago has a rich history of strong community partnerships. As a pandemic nearly shuts down Chicago, members of those enduring partnerships are helping supply meals to vulnerable people in neighboring communities.
At Lake Shore Campus, the Loyola Community Nursing Center provides health and nutrition services to dozens of local families and individuals. When the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak led to a shelter-in-place order for Illinois residents, access to nutritious meals became a concern.
That’s when Monica Dillon, the health center’s longtime leader, took charge. She helped organize a local response team focused on food security and, with the help of students from the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health and the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, developed a creative solution for Chicago’s Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods.
“She reached out to our dietetic and nutrition interns to create shopping lists and recipes with nutrient-dense, non-perishable food items,” says Joanne Kouba, an associate professor at Parkinson. “Even though we are under these extreme, disruptive times, we want people to be well-nourished and avoid exacerbating issues like weight, diabetes, and hypertension, all chronic health problems impacted by nutrition.”