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New Program Provides Meals To Hoosiers Living With HIV

(Roger W/Flickr)
A Meals On Wheels meal, delivered in Sarasota, Florida.

A new state program will deliver medically tailored meals to these people. The Ryan’s Meals for Life project is funded by a $1 million grant from the Indiana State Department of Health.

Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana project manager Nick Fennig says the meals program aims to reach more than 2,500 people in Indiana.

"As far as we know, it’s the first statewide pilot of its kind in the country to serve medically-tailored meals to persons living with HIV across the state," says Fennig.

The healthy meals will be prepared at Indianapolis's Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, shipped across the state and distributed at one of 23 locations that provide services to people with HIV.

Mark Schwering with the Indiana State Department of Health says much of this population is low-income.

"If we can keep them nutritionally sustained then they are not having to make decisions between medication and food," says Schwering.

Fenning says more than 12,000 Hoosiers live with HIV and more than half of them are low-income.

"Being more food-secure helps them in many parts of their lives, mental and physical," says Fennig. "And to have more money to pay bills and other medical expenses."

A healthy diet can also improve medication outcomes and mental health.