Tuesday, Aug 21, 2018
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Mercy Health delivers for cancer patients at food pantry

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    Volunteer Megan Hakeos, from left, Lisa Kronbach-Eisenbach, founder of Nightingales Harvest, and volunteers Kellie Fellers, Melissa Brunt, and Jack Richardson unpack groceries after they were delivered to Nightingales Harvest.

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    Karen Andress, a Mercy Health social worker, delivers groceries to Nightingales Harvest as board member Connie Johnson looks on, Wednesday in Toledo. Three Mercy Health social workers spent the morning shopping before delivering the groceries to the nonprofit organization that provides food as well as hygiene and cleaning projects for cancer patients and their families.

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    Volunteer Melissa Brunt pushes a cart full of groceries into Nightingales Harvest Wednesday. The latest donation came from the Marguerite d’Youville Program, which offers financial and other assistance for patients at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center

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    Lisa Kronbach-Eisenbach, founder of Nightingales Harvest, front left, embraces Karen Andress, a Mercy Health social worker, after she and fellow social workers Benjamin Hoffman, back left, and Michelle Isaacs delivered groceries on Wednesday to Nightingales Harvest in West Toledo.

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    Mercy Health social workers Karen Andress, left, and Benjamin Hoffman deliver groceries to Nightingales Harvest on West Alexis Road. .

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    Megan Hakeos, center, a volunteer at Nightingales Harvest, helps unload groceries, which included fresh meat and produce, rice, oatmeal, and peanut butter.

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    Karen Andress, a Mercy Health social worker, shows Lisa Kronbach-Eisenbach, Nightingales founder, the groceries she's gathered for cancer patients and their families,

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The long center countertop in the Nightingales Harvest food pantry quickly filled with groceries — fresh meat and produce, rice, oatmeal, and peanut butter — that will soon find their way into the kitchens of Toledo-area cancer patients and their families.

Pantry founder Lisa Kronbach-Eisenbach whooped with joy at the sight. 

The latest donation came from the Marguerite d’Youville Program, which offers financial and other assistance for patients at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center. Mercy Health social workers shopped for the items Wednesday morning and delivered the goods later that day.

“We try to focus on foods that are healthy because they are cancer patients, and we want to make sure their nutritional status is being met,” said Michelle Isaacs, mission program manager for the Marguerite d’Youville Program. “There is a huge need for financial assistance, particularly for our patients who are no longer able to work.”

It’s a need social workers are keenly aware of, said Ms. Isaacs, a social worker. The Marguerite d’Youville Program provides services such as rent, utilities, and transportation assistance for patients at St. Vincent as well as donations elsewhere. 

Ms. Kronbach-Eisenbach started the pantry after her friend was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010. Ms. Kronbach-Eisenbach saw the toll cancer had on the financial and nutritional health of affected families.

Even after her friend died in 2012, Ms. Kronbach-Eisenbach’s desire to give to others continued. The pantry has served about 3,000 families since it opened, including more than 750 currently. Families can get groceries every two to four weeks, depending on circumstance. 

“With cancer families, you get to sit around the table at Christmas and talk about memories, for that patient and [their family] ... that’s like a slam dunk,” Ms. Kronbach-Eisenbach said. 

The nonprofit has called Our Savior Lutheran Church at 2820 W. Alexis Rd. home for two years. To learn more about services provided by Nightingales Harvest or to make a donation, call the food pantry at 419-725-1190.

Contact Lauren Lindstrom at llindstrom@theblade.com, 419-724-6154, or on Twitter @lelindstrom.

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