Family Nourishment Room Now Open

The South Plains Food Bank Family Nourishment Room at Covenant Children’s is now open to long-term patient families thanks to a generous donation from Wellpoint (formerly Amerigroup Financial).

The SPFB Family Nourishment Room is designed exclusively for the families of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patients. It will provide families with 24-hour access to healthy and nutritious food options during their baby’s stay, which can be critical for the recovery and development of NICU patients.

The Covenant Children’s NICU is a Level IV NICU, providing the highest level of care, serving close to 500 patients each year across West Texas and eastern New Mexico. NICU patients typically stay an average of 30 days.

The room will be stocked with fresh produce, whole grains, lean protein, and other nutrient-rich food items, as well as snacks and beverages to help families stay full and energized.

“Something we all have in common is coming around the table and sharing a meal with the ones we love,” Manager of Integrative Care Dr. Christine Neugebauer said. “When we need to gather most is when someone is sick or in the hospital. We want this room to help heal our patient families’ bodies, minds, and soul, and we are so grateful to Wellpoint and the South Plains Food Bank for making this happen.”

The South Plains Food Bank has been a leader in the fight against hunger in West Texas for over 35 years, providing food assistance to individuals and families in need across 20 counties. The Food as Medicine program is part of its ongoing commitment to improving the health of the community by addressing the root causes of food insecurity.

Food is a powerful connector, and we are honored to serve those in need in this special way,” said Dina Jeffries, SPFB executive director. “Not only are we able to provide nutritious food to families of critically ill and injured children, but we are able to continue our services to families as they return to their home community after being away for weeks and sometimes months.”

Wellpoint helps improve health care access and quality for nearly 750,000 Texans who participate in the state’s Medicaid programs.

“We are proud to partner with the South Plains Food Bank because we have a shared belief that food truly is medicine,” said Emie Young, director, Wellpoint Texas. "Families with loved ones in the NICU do not need any added stress. We are so glad we’re able to help families stay energized and healthy with easy access to nutritious food.”

We also want to thank some local artists for contributing their talents to the Nourishment Room. A large wall mural depicting cheerful wildflowers was painted by local artist, Janelle Barrington Spivey. All the tables for families to sit and gather at were crafted by local firefighter and artisan Jaden Carnes of Carnes Woodworks.

To start the Nourishment Room will support NICU families with the hope to expand to other patient families across the entire hospital.