People with diabetes who are struggling with food insecurity face a tight balancing act between their need to stretch their food budgets and their need to purchase diabetes-appropriate food, which is often more expensive. The Diabetes Wellness Program, a pilot initiative of Second Harvest Foodbank’s HungerCare Coalition, provides food-insecure patients with free diabetes-appropriate food and tailored nutrition education to help them better control their Hemoglobin A1C levels and empower them to take the steps necessary to prevent short- and long-term diabetes complications.

Program Design

The Diabetes Wellness Program is a pilot program in which food insecure people with diabetes will learn to better control their condition through educational workshops, nutrition information, healthy recipes, and boxes of diabetes-appropriate food. Click here for a printable factsheet about the Diabetes Wellness Program.

Participant Requirements

Program Components

  • 1-hour introductory workshop in which participants will learn the basics of diabetes management, receive a copy of the “Living with Diabetes Guidebook” published by the American College of Physicians, and gain a better understanding of what program participation will entail
  • 9 monthly boxes of approximately 30 pounds of diabetes-appropriate food (including vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains), equaling 1-2 weeks’ worth of meals
  • A monthly factsheet on various topics related to managing diabetes through nutrition and 2-3 recipes to use with the food items provided
  • Optional 2-hour Cooking Matters at the Store workshop to be held at a local grocery store to learn how to stretch a budget and continue to make healthy choices beyond the program

Program Goals

  1.  To increase participants’ knowledge on how to successfully manage diabetes through proper nutrition.
  2. To increase participants’ intake of diabetes-appropriate foods.

  3. To increase program participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their diabetes beyond the end of the program.

Program Partners

  • Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
  • Dean Clinic & St. Mary’s Hospital
  • St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry
  • Beth Johnson, RN, CDE
  • Sherie Sondel, RD

Join the program!

We are currently accepting program participants in Dane County! If you are interested in learning more and signing up for the Diabetes Wellness Program, please call (608) 216-7245 or email

If you are a health care provider who would like to refer your patients into the program, please contact Anne at for handouts about the program and referral slips to make signing up easy. The program is open to anyone who is eligible in the community and is not restricted to Dean & St. Mary's patients.