Vitamins are never a substitute for healthy food! It’s essential for programs to be providing meals or referrals to soup kitchens and food pantries for any program participants who may have challenges feeding themselves. Referrals should include the hours, location, days of services and directions if needed. Many nutritional resources run by community groups and churches change their schedule based on resources and other factors out of their control– If you’re not positive a resource is in operation please call ahead before referring participants; it may prevent a hungry person from traveling to receive a hot meal and being turned away.
Providing vitamins are an excellent way to engage with participants about their nutritional day-to-day experience. Are they getting enough food? Having issues with their food stamps? Do they need a referral for nutritional support? Vitamins can provide an entryway to engagement.
Some programs that provide vitamins provide them with and without Iron as a method of engaging people about Hepatitis C lifestyle care. Because some people with Hepatitis C, particularly those with cirrhosis have high levels of iron in their body, they should avoid Iron and Vitamin C (which helps absorb Iron). High levels of iron can damage organs including the liver. Read more through a simple web search, there are also several guides that provide nutritional guidance for people living with Hepatitis C including those provided through the Harm Reduction Coalition and New York City Department of Health.