Clinic days are always packed, with many patients arriving as staff and volunteers first set up. By noon, the rush has passed and our on-site diabetes educator, Cecilia Chapman, RDN, CDCES is preparing to leave.

One recent clinic day saw Cecilia running late. She happened to still be on site when a patient walked into the Maryvale Clinic holding the hand of a 5-year-old little girl. Although she was already running late, Cecilia paused as she packed up education materials and her A1c Meter to ask if there was anything she could help the woman with.

The patient, Elisa*, asked if the clinic was still open and glanced over at the tables by the windows. Usually covered in bags of produce, the tables were now empty. With concern, Elisa asked if we had given out the bags of groceries earlier. Cecilia told her yes, we had already distributed the orange bags filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Elisa took a deep breath and explained how she had tried to get to the clinic earlier, but her ride picked her up late. She seemed very sad and explained that she had been hoping that when she came to pick up her prescription medication refills, she would also get a bag of groceries today. She looked at her little girl and then back to Cecilia. “There is no food at home,” she shared quietly. “The bag would have been a great help and the food would have lasted us for a few days.”

Finally understanding why Elisa seemed so burdened, Cecilia smiled in relief. She told her she had just taken the last two bags to the doctors in the mobile unit, where they fill prescriptions for the patients. She explained that the doctors in the van would be happy to give her one of the bags after filling her prescription. Elisa thanked Cecilia and headed straight to the van.

Cecilia went back to her task, gathering her materials and packing to leave. As she loaded her supplies into her vehicle, Cecilia looked up and caught sight of Elisa. In one hand she still held the little girl, but in her other hand, she now gripped a bright orange bag filled with groceries. However, the most notable difference in the scene was that Elisa now wore a big smile on her face, replacing the worry from earlier.

“Most of us are not always aware of the great need our community faces daily,” says Cecilia. “I am blessed to be part of Mission of Mercy and help our patients who need so much.” Thank you, Cecilia, for the Love and Dignity you always share with our patients. And thank you to Diana Gregory and the team at Gregory’s Fresh Market for your life-changing gifts of produce bags.

*Patient name changed for privacy.