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

  • SSM Health
  • St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry (Madison)
  • Salvation Army Food Pantry (Janesville & Beloit)
  • SSM Health St. Clare Hospital (Baraboo)

Join the program!

Recruitment for the Dane County pilot has now ended. We are now recruiting participants in Rock and Sauk counties. If you are interested in learning more and signing up for the Diabetes Wellness Program, please call (608) 216-7243 or email

If you are a health care provider or community organization in Rock or Sauk counties who would like to refer patients or clients into the program, please contact Anne at The program is open to anyone who is eligible and is not restricted to SSM Health patients.

Generously supported by the "Helping Dane County to be Healthy" grant from SSM Health.