FORTY FORT — Tom Shicowich is in much better health these days.
So, he couldn’t help but smile as he spoke about Geisinger’s “Seed to Farmacy” program at The Room at 900 on Saturday night.
The medical giant held an inaugural fundraiser for its healthy-eating initiative that included live entertainment, dinner, a silent auction, a local farmers market and live cooking demonstrations from celebrity chef Sara Moulton.
Seed to Farmacy has been implemented for roughly one year, helping individuals and families suffering from diabetes and similar conditions better themselves through healthy living, education and more. The program is stationed in Northumberland County, and it will be expanding to a Scranton location.
“Geisinger started (it) in order to create an opportunity for people who are food insecure to get healthy food, and to get three meals a day, five days a week for themselves and their families,” said Geisinger Chief Philanthropy Officer Nancy Lawton-Kluck. “The idea is to create a healthier environment and to break the cycle of poor nutrition.”
Schicowich was one of 10 program participants at Saturday’s event, and he was a member of the program’s first class in Shamokin. The Mount Carmel resident said he was introduced to the program in 2016 by his doctor to help manage his diabetes, and he has come a long way since.
“They supply us with everything we needed: fresh fruits, lean proteins and brown rice,” he said. “We went to class to learn more about our disease, and through the classes you realize that you’re really not alone. They supplied me with the tools I needed to get my diabetes under control.”
Besides losing 60 pounds with the program’s help, Schicowich has been able to control his blood sugar and reduce the amount of medication he must take for his diabetes.
As 300 guests wandered the space, they were able to take part in multiple healthy-living initiatives such as purchasing food and products from local farmers, planting “virtual” seeds to help grow food for the program, and taking their chances on more than 100 items in the silent auction.
Preparing fresh ingredients on a table for a live demonstration of a salad and two healthy takes on desserts, celebrity chef Moulton spoke about the importance of eating healthy foods and just how easy it is to create healthy meals at home on the fly.
Moulton is known for her appearances on “Good Morning America” and has her own show, “Sara’s Weeknight Meals,” on PBS.
“It’s really important to plan on the weekend and get all the food items you need,” she said about weekday meals, suggesting five proteins, five starches and five vegetables. “During the week they’re already there, you don’t have to think — you just take one (from each grouping).”
With the help of the fundraiser, the program can expand and continue providing education and healthy, fresh foods to those struggling in hopes of ending diabetes and creating a healthier society.
Those interested in the program should talk to their doctor first.