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State’s first diabetic food pantry to launch in Midlands

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The first diabetic food pantry in South Carolina is scheduled to open July 1 at three Midlands locations.

The D2 & Me Diabetic Food Pantry will provide needy residents with diabetes special boxes of healthy staple foods and fresh produce that are diabetic friendly, according to a press release. The project is being established by the Lexington Medical Center, Harvest Hope Food Bank and the American Diabetes Association.

The idea for the diabetic food pantry came from Natalie Copeland, a Lexington Medical Center employee who has type 2 diabetes and created a health and wellness group called “D2 & Me” for diabetics in the Midlands, according to a press release.

 “I learned a lot of people who have diabetes use a food pantry. Sometimes, the food they receive is heavy on carbohydrates,” Copeland said in a statement. “The diabetic food pantry will help to ensure that they receive a nutritional balance of food that will help them manage their diabetes well.”

Recipients will receive boxes that include peanut butter, brown rice, dry pinto beans, oats, Corn Flakes cereal, milk, mandarin oranges, unsweetened applesauce, whole wheat spaghetti noodles, green beans, tomatoes, carrots and chicken. They also will be provided with a packet with recipes, a brochure about diabetes, and a schedule of D2 & Me meetings.

A Lexington Medical Center Foundation grant is providing the first boxes of food for the diabetic food pantry. Community members who donate to Harvest Hope are encouraged to bring foods on the diabetic list. There are also opportunities for corporate sponsorships, the release said.

The program is working with three pilot pantries where the diabetic food boxes may be picked up. Those locations are Church of Christ Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia; Sharing God’s Love in Irmo; and Mission of Hope in Cayce.

Organizers say they’d like to expand the program to all Harvest Hope Food Bank agencies in South Carolina.

 South Carolina has the seventh highest rate of diabetes in the United States, afflicting one in eight adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are also obese.

For information on donations, click here or call (803) 254 – 4432.

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