Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: “You Feed Hope for Seniors Like Nita”

Published in Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s “The Link”, Spring 2016

Nita, 77, has spent her whole life in Oklahoma. She enjoyed a 50-year marriage, raised two boys and a daughter and worked her way up to a management position at a local food manufacturer.

But life hasn’t been so kind to Nita in her golden years. She cared for her husband full-time until he lost his battle with cancer in 1998. She now lives alone in Norman, where she’s been dealing with her own serious health problems.

Nita has diabetes and has had a hard time controlling her blood sugar since she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In order to keep her strength up as she undergoes treatment, she has to follow a very strict diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables. But on her limited income, those healthy items can be difficult to afford at the store.

Fortunately, the support of Watertree Health and its cardholder gives Nita a place to go for help putting food on the table.

After her husband passed away, her brother, James, invited her to come play bingo at Skyline Urban Ministry, just a few blocks from where they grew up in Oklahoma City. She loves spending time with fellow seniors through the Old Timers program and can also visit Skyline’s Food & Resource Center, which provides struggling neighbors like her with access to quality groceries.

Visiting Skyline has been just as good for Nita’s emotional health as it has for meeting her nutritional needs. Because she grew up near the ministry, she still knows a lot of people in the community, which means she has many opportunities to connect with old friends.

No one should have to face the challenges Nita is dealing with alone. Thanks to your support of the Regional Food Bank, the needs of seniors like Nita aren’t forgotten — and she’s very grateful for that. “I appreciate it,” Nita says of your support. “This is very, very helpful to me.”

The Link is published quarterly by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, a member of Feeding America. Comments and questions can be directed to their Development Department at 405-600-3136 or 

FBROK_CARDTo get a free Prescription Discount Card benefitting the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, download, print, email, or have a card mailed to you here. Every time you save on your prescriptions, we make a donation to help provide meals for people like Nita. 

“Even with my husband’s check, we barely make it.”

Published in Houston Food Bank’s “Generous Helpings

Jenny and her husband Juan are so proud of their three children, Juan, 9, Victor, 4 and little Keyla, who is now 5 months old. Juan has a steady job as a crew leader at an auto dealership car wash, but his income alone is not enough to support their growing family with the nutritious food his children really need. Especially during the winter months, when work is a bit slower.

“Even with his check, we barely make it,” Jenny says.

Due to the high cost of childcare, Jenny has chosen to stay at home and take care of Keyla until she is old enough to go to school. That means that until Juan’s work picks back up again, the family’s budget will be stretched pretty thin.

Thankfully, Jenny knows a place they can turn to in their time of need. At the Memorial Baptist Food Pantry, a partner agency of the Houston Food Bank, Jenny can pick up healthy foods like rice, beans, frozen meat, pasta and bread to feed her growing children. Jenny and Juan feel good feeding this food to their kids — these are the kinds of healthy groceries they’d be buying themselves, if they could right now.

Jenny plans on returning to the workforce when Keyla is old enough to start preschool. But for now, she’s so grateful for friends like you who help feed her children in her family’s time of need.

“Thank you!” Jenny says with a big smile.


Keyla & her mom, Jenny

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To get a free Prescription Discount Card benefitting the Houston Food Bank, download, print, email, or have a card mailed to you, here. Every time you save on your prescription, we make a donation to help provide meals for people like Jenny & her family. 

Can Some Medicines Cause Sun Sensitivity?

Continuing Series: Questions From Consumers


TIP: Use an umbrella on sunny days to shield yourself from the sun

Yes, certain drugs may cause high sensitivity to sunlight (also called photosensitivity). It is also important to note that not every person who uses sun-sensitive drugs has a reaction. 

There are two main types of negative effects:

  1. Photoallergy occurs when UV sunlight causes a structural change in the medicine put on your skin. The reaction usually includes an eczema-like rash, which often happens a few days after exposure. The rash may also spread to other body parts that were not exposed to the sun.
  1. Phototoxicity is the most common type of  reaction. It can occur when your skin is exposed to the sun after certain medications are injected, taken by mouth, or applied to the skin. When the drug absorbs UV light and releases it into the skin, cell death occurs–which looks like a really bad sunburn. Within a few days, symptoms appear on the exposed areas of the body. Among the most common phototoxic drugs are the tetracycline family, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen), and amiodarone (Cordarone, a heart medication); see full list below.
If either of these conditions occur, see your doctor immediately. 

Ibuprofen bottle and tablets.  Label is not real.Sun-sensitizing drugs can also aggravate existing skin conditions, including eczema and herpes, and may inflame scar tissue. Sun exposure can also worsen autoimmune disorders, such as lupus.

Can Sunscreen Help?AdobeStock_78697670

Yes, it can help lessen the impact of sun exposure. HOWEVER, some ingredients in sunscreens are potentially photosensitizing, so in rare circumstances, it could worsen symptoms. 

Most Common Sun-Sensitizing Drugs (Prescription & Over-The-Counter)

  • Antibiotics: doxycycline, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin, trimethoprim
  • Antidepressants: doxepin (Sinequan); and other tricyclics; St. John’s wort
  • Antifungals: griseofulvin
  • Antihistamine: promethazine, diphenhydramine
  • Antihypertensives (blood pressure drugs): hydrochlorothiazide (also found in some blood pressure medicines: Aldactazide, Capozide),diltiazem (Cardizem)
  • Benzocaine
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs: simvastatin, atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin
  • Chemotherapy drugs: methotrexate, flutamide, 5-FU, gemcitabine,doxorubicin
  • Diuretics: furosemide, bumetanide, hydrolorothiazide
  • Hypoglycemics: glipizide, glyburide
  • Neuroleptic drugs: Chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, perphenazine, thioridazine, thiothixene
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories: ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen,celecoxib, piroxicam
  • PDT Pro photosensitizers: 5-aminolevulinic acid, methyl-5-aminolevulinic acid
  • Retinoids: isotretinoin, acitretin
  • Sulfonamides: sulfadiazine, sulfamethoxazole, sulfasalazine, sulfisoxazole

By WHBlogger

Reviewed: 7/26/18

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Pet Owners Live Healthier & Happier Lives

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-12-31-10-pmOriginally published in Huffington Post 

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health, and Lisa Chau, Communications Manager of
Watertree Health

Smiling man holding leash of white dog while walking in park.Fitbit Blaze, Under Armour HealthBox, Gymwatch Sensor, iFit NordicTrack Escape, Emfit QS Sleep Monitor… These are some of the health and fitness gadgets you’ll want from CES 2016. Technology is amazing, exciting and cool. But it won’t put a smile on your face the way a cat or dog might. Sometimes, there’s nothing better for your physical health than a pet.

According to WebMD, research has shown that animals can positively impact mood and help with stress. Pets provide companionship without the emotional complications human interactions typically bring. Plus, the physical contact of petting a cat or dog can be incredibly soothing. Cleveland Clinic notes that certain illnesses such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers or heart disease can get worse with stress.

One study found that dog owners had an 11% lower risk of experiencing a heart attack and were 33% less likely to die from a heart attack compared to non dog owners.  In another study, married couples with pets had lower blood pressure and heart rates.

Increased exercise may be an extra contributor to the improved health of dog owners. An NIH investigation revealed that adults who regularly walked their dogs were less likely to be obese because of higher rates of physical activity. A second NIH study found that older adults who regularly walked their dogs had more mobility at home, walked faster and for longer durations.

Pets can also be the first step in combatting loneliness. As we reported in May, recent suicide rates have skyrocketed in part because of social isolation. A dog or cat can be a constant companion, and can make a meaningful difference. Eventually, pet owners may connect with other animal lovers during daily walks or casual conversation. Pets provide a safe topic for discussion as well as regular opportunities for socialization.

In addition, pet owners may find new purpose in providing a healthy household for their dog or cat. Daily responsibilities associated with animal care refocuses energies and reminds owners of their capabilities, value and worth. They benefit physically and mentally – pet owners are motivated to exercise more and live healthier.

In Psychology Today, Dr. Azadeh Aalai wrote,

Dog owners exhibit greater benefits than non-owners on dimensions as far ranging as self-esteem, physical fitness, sociability, happiness, and overall health (McConnell et al., 2011). Moreover, dog ownership has also been implicated in helping to alleviate symptoms of depression among terminally ill patients, the elderly, and veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In fact, many innovative therapies today targeting our returning veterans specifically integrate canine therapy, with some resources referring to the presence of dogs as “life-savers” for these veterans (e.g. Colin, 2012).

The mental and physical benefits of owning a cat or dog can be tremendous – increasing happiness and healthiness. Can your Fuelband do that?

Co-authored with Shane Power, President of Watertree Health, where Lisa works in communication and business development. Both love dogs and cats.

Updated: 7/31/18

Watertree Health MVP Spotlight: Derek Crawley

image3 copyContinuing Series…

Derek Crawley, born and raised in Indiana, has been a Watertree Health Service Representative for almost 2 years and covers the southern part of his home state. He is also a Regional Trainer and member of the 2015 President’s Club.

Derek is an extremely friendly, likable person who not only seems to know everyone in his town, but also genuinely takes the time to GET to know them as a friend. No surprise, he’s earned the nickname “The Mayor”. This could become a reality as he’s considering running for office to further help his community. Derek has a great sense of humor, an extremely positive attitude, and most of all, is great at building & maintaining meaningful relationships.

Throughout his life, Derek has gravitated towards work that allows him to stay active and get to know people. Out of college, Derek worked in the package delivery service industry—starting at UPS and then moving to USPS. He still has friends from those days, particularly in the elderly community, and continues to check up on them when he can.

He maintains the philosophy that you should work to live, rather than live to work. “At the end of the road, people will talk about who you are, rather than what you do or did,” Derek said.

After leaving USPS, Derek worked as a marketer for a small company that provided health care services at a heavily discounted rate.

“Now I understand how insurance works. I never pay full price for anything—I learned from the industry I worked in. Most people think health insurance companies can charge anything they want without room for negotiation. But the prices always vary, and you can usually get a discount. You need to be a smart consumer.”

At Watertree Health, Derek is able to continue educating people to help them save money with our free Prescription Discount Card benefitting Make-A-Wish®.

“I like to teach people that they can ask for a discount. Some of my friends like to take me along when they purchase cars because they know I’ll get them the best price. I’ve even been known to challenge waitresses to arm-wrestling contests for free desserts. I end up paying anyway, but my daughter Amanda gets a laugh when I do that.”

Derek greatly values the freedom and flexibility that his schedule allows. “Watertree Health couldn’t be a better fit – what we do is community service and education. I like being able to help people. Plus, we’re working for both sides of the counter—we’re both pharmacy-friendly and customer-friendly.”

image2The relationships that Derek has built with pharmacists over the past 2 years have grown more meaningful and personal—ones that will last a lifetime.

“I know a lot about who they are, and they ask me about my interests, like fishing, or where I’m planning my next vacation.” However, it’s the stories about making a difference that resonate the most with Derek.

“A pharmacy technician told me a story about a young girl who had pre-natal diabetes, which her health insurance didn’t cover. She had to test her baby and herself multiple times a day. She was paying about $96 a week, or $400 a month on test strips. With our card, the strips went down to about $26. The mother-to-be cried with joy over the savings.”

We are so grateful to have someone like Derek who truly understands and embodies our mission to help others – both afford their meds and through the nonprofits we support.

WH_MVP_LOGO_web_smallSteve, Derek’s Manager, likes to say, “Derek can talk to anyone. No one is a stranger to him – just someone he hasn’t talked with yet. Everyone gets what he’s about – his cool, calm demeanor and positive attitude make him unique and extremely deserving of this MVP award.”

By WHBlogger 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

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