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Innovative Program – REFB’s Diabetes Wellness Program

The Diabetes Wellness Program builds on partnerships with community clinics to address the dual problems of hunger and diabetes. Clients are first screened for diabetes, then receive a free monthly food box with healthy foods and fresh produce, recipes, cooking tips, and diabetes self-management education materials.



  • Over 2,300 blood sugar screenings & 800+ screening HbA1c tests
  • 700+ clients enrolled
  • Over 8,100 Diabetes Wellness Food Boxes distributed – more than 325,000 lbs. of healthy food!
  • 450+ clinic referrals

As of July 2014, REFB is wrapping up a 2.5 year research and evaluation project to assess the effectiveness of the DWP. Preliminary data suggests that the program has a positive impact on participants’ diabetes control, depression, and food security status.


Innovative Program: Diabetes Wellness Program (DWP)

Food Bank: Redwood Empire Food Bank (Sonoma County)

Program Goal: To improve the health, wellness, and outcomes of low-income adults in Sonoma County who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and who face food-insecurity.

Program Description: In order to reach our goal, the REFB works to:


The REFB Diabetes Wellness Program van at work.
We conduct free diabetes risk screenings at monthly food distributions sites located throughout the County. Screenings include blood sugar and HbA1c testing by a registered nurse. Food bank clients who have diabetes can enroll in the program to receive free healthy food, fresh produce, and diabetes education materials each month. Participants needing primary care are also referred to a community clinic to help them establish consistent, long-term clinical management of their diabetes. The food bank has partnered with 13 health organizations, and these partners also screen their low-income diabetes patients for food insecurity and refer patients directly to the Diabetes Wellness Program (DWP) for participation in the free monthly program.

Tools & Program Materials:


Funding Model:
The Diabetes Wellness Program was originally a 3-year pilot project funded through the Feeding America Diabetes Initiative and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. The DWP is now a permanent program at the Redwood Empire Food Bank.  Annual expenses will be supported through a combination of program-specific grants, donations, and general fund allocations.

In-Depth Program Information:
Diabetes Wellness Program – Redwood Empire Food Bank web pages
Meeting Dual Needs: A Novel Food Bank Initiative Addressing Diabetes and Hunger – case study by Morgan Smith, RN, PHN, CDE; Diabetes Wellness Program Lead, Redwood Empire Food Bank, published in the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ AADE In Practice (note: full PDF requires payment)
Case Study of Diabetes Wellness Program – by Feeding America

Additional Information:
Media Coverage of Diabetes Wellness Program

Contact Person:
Morgan Smith, RN, PHN, CDE;
Diabetes Wellness Program Lead.
707-523-7900, ext. 135


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