Joe Andruzzi Foundation Celebrates $1 Million in Food Security Assistance, Surprises Cancer Patient with $1,000 Grant for Food

On Tuesday, April 30, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) visited our friends at Boston Medical Center (BMC). The reason? To celebrate JAF’s Food Security Program presented by Amplix, which reached $1 million in support of New England cancer patients and their family members.

Dr. Matt Kulke, MD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology on Moakley Garden

JAF gathered in the Moakley Garden just outside the hospital for the main event, starting with remarks by Dr. Matt Kulke, MD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology, who was on hand and spoke about cancer care at BMC, patient navigation, wraparound services, and the importance of the hospital’s partnership with JAF in addressing financial toxicity.

Joining him in speaking were JAF’s Manager of Patient and Family Food Security Assistance, Denise Mowles, and Presenting Sponsor Amplix’s CEO, Joe DeStefano, who shared:

Presenting Sponsor Amplix’s CEO, Joe DeStefano and JAF Food Security Recipient, Angel Wagner

“Amplix is committed to helping our communities, and we are honored to help New England cancer patients through the Joe Andruzzi Foundation’s Food Security Program. JAF programs have an incredible impact on families facing a cancer diagnosis.”

The Foundation always enjoys the element of ‘surprise and delight’ for patients. In marking this occasion, Joe and Jen Andruzzi fully enjoyed not only surprising patient recipient Angel Wagner with their participation that morning but also presenting him and his wife, Karen, with a $1,000 food security grant!

Angel, a resident of Beverly, MA, is an accomplished musician, husband, and family man undergoing lymphoma treatment at BMC. His effervescent personality and infectious smile were matched only by his genuine gratitude for what JAF provided for him, stating:

“I really appreciate the Joe Andruzzi Foundation for this program,” said Wagner. “For me, this help has been wonderful. They have helped to pay some bills and food. Having this help has made me feel more comfortable and allowed me to continue treatment.”

Joe, Jen and JAF team with Angel Wagner and his family on Moakley Garden

Since its inception in 2021, JAF’s Food Security Program has provided gift cards to patients for use at five major regional grocery stores. In this way, patients can access nutritional foods during treatment. In these three short years, the Food Security Program has become JAF’s fastest-growing method of support, reflecting the greater nationwide trend of food insecurity beyond just cancer patients.

JAF’s visit to BMC also included the JAF Programs team delivering groceries donated by our staff and Board of Directors, including shelf-stable milk, whole-wheat pasta, and cereal, to BMC’s Preventive Food Pantry. Led by BMC’s Latchman Hiralall, the staff was given a tour of the food pantry facilities and discussed the importance of food as medicine. BMC’s pantry works with patients with cancer, among other illnesses, to promote physical health and facilitate recovery.

From there, the team headed to BMC’s rooftop farm, where more than 30 varieties of crops are grown to provide fresh, local produce to patients, the Preventative Food Pantry, and a weekly farmers market.

The Foundation sincerely appreciates everyone at Boston Medical Center for allowing us to visit and recognize this important milestone in our mission. Because of partnerships with healthcare professionals like BMC, JAF can reach so many cancer patients in need. Special thanks to BMC’s Joanna MacDonald, Silvia Pereli, Alyssa Diethelm, Barry Logue, Kailey Hinckley, and Nina Ng for their support around this special day!

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