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U.S. Senator Roger Marshall tours kitchen at New Beginnings Bisonte Food Service

4/5/2024 11:11:00 AM

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U.S. Senator Roger Marshall visited New Beginnings Bisonte Food Service to learn about their Nutrition for Recovery Program on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. The Nutrition for Recovery Program is designed to provide balanced meals and nutrition education to people in recovery in a communal meal setting, so they can support and sustain their recovery. That program recently received a $10,000 Pathways to a Healthy Kansas implementation grant, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) initiative, in partnership with Heal Reno County and the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas (SACK),

Sen. Marshall said that he came to visit because every community faces challenges, common ones are homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues. He said, "I think my staff does a really good job of keeping track of how those are being addressed. Obviously my staff was impressed with what is going on here so it’s good for me to come and learn what’s working. There are some federal dollars and support programs like this. I’m excited about the Food as Health program that has really been one of my big priorities."

He continued and said that people ask him, how are you going to save Medicaid and Medicare? Well it all starts with food is health, food is medicine as well. So I really wanted to learn about the nutrition component of this that really perked my interest so I think part of my job is just learning what’s working and try to accentuate the positive.

Sen. Marshall learned about quinoa, a superfood that New Beginnings Bisonte Food Service Executive Chef Isaac Dimitt tries to incorporate into a variety of foods.Document (89).jpg 

Sen. Marshall and Chef Dimitt spoke about the power of food to heal someone with substance abuse. Sen. Marshall said, "This reinforces what I was taught as a medical student that a person with a substance abuse problem, their liver is not working very well and they cannot digest fatty foods very well. And then when people came in who are detoxing in the ER, when there weren't places like this, we would hang an IV and add thiamine and vitamin B6 in it, that was the first thing we would do... so a lot of this is teaching people good, healthy eating habits. Not everybody grew up with a mom like mine, this is just what I lived on. This is what I was raised on, fresh garden food."

Chef Dimitt showed Sen. Marshall a plate full of healthy food that was served for lunch to people in recovery in the treatment center at the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas (SACK). Chief Dimitt emphasized the nutrients that people in recovery are lacking because of the substance abuse that their bodies have been through. He explained that opioid use can cause a different vitamin and mineral deficiency than someone who uses a different chemical substance.

Document (90).jpgSen. Marshall asked Chef Dimitt what drew him to the Nutrition for Recovery Program and he said, "I believe in this (program). I'm 14 years sober myself. I've been cooking a long time and this means a lot to me. If I'm able to help just one person, that means the world to me."

Sen. Marshall said that, so you would hope that every community has something like this and what I love about this is that the federal government is not micromanaging them.  As you listen to that story, the community is solving the problem itself, yes, they are accessing federal grants but it’s just amazing all the pieces of the community are solving the problem. When I talk about my Kansas values, I talk about faith and family and education but community is one of my values. Communities can solve problems better than the federal government can."

Photo captions:

Valerie Taylor, Community Impact Coordinator with United Way of Reno County, left, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, Isaac Dimitt, Executive Chef/Kitchen Supervisor for New Beginnings, Inc., Shara Gonzales, President and CEO of New Beginnings, Inc., Candace Davidson, Reno County Health Department Health Promotion Supervisor and Heal Reno County and Megan Gottschalk, Reno County Health Department Community Health Operations Assistant Director,  gather in the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas kitchen Wednesday to discuss the Nutrition for Recovery program developed and implemented by the New Beginnings Bisonte Food Service.

New Beginnings Bisonte Food Service Sous-Chef Jose Lara and Executive Chef/Kitchen Supervisor Isaac Dimitt, right, prepare to take Wednesday's lunch out to the clients at the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas (SACK),

 Photo by Sandra J. Milburn/Reno County

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Category Reno County