A group of east metro doctors and nurse practitioners recently gave a boost to the state's largest food bank as the pandemic forces record numbers of Minnesotans to rely on food assistance.

Medical staff at several of M Health Fairview's east metro hospitals recently donated $100,000 to Second Harvest Heartland, which supplies food shelves and meal programs across the state. Staff dues paid for the donation.

In a letter to Second Harvest Heartland, HealthEast Medical Staff members said their organization's primary role is to care for patients in hospitals.

"It is also tasked to identify the health care needs in our community," the group wrote. "Food insecurity has become a worsening problem for many of our patients because of the economic devastation caused by the COVID pandemic."

HealthEast Medical Staff represents medical providers at several former HealthEast Care System hospitals: St. John's, St. Joseph's, Bethesda and Woodwinds. HealthEast Care System merged into M Health Fairview in 2017.

"With the profound increase in food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this Second Harvest donation allowed our providers to significantly impact and improve the healthcare needs of our community," HealthEast Medical Staff President Matthew Stiles said in a statement.

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732

Twitter: @StribRoper