On April 13th - 15th, 2018 Karen Schilling (Wayside Food Programs board member and Maine Medical Center) and Ashlan Oberhoitzer (National Home Infusion Association, formerly New England Life Care) attended the 4th Biennial Oncology Nutrition Symposium in Minneapolis to present on the New England Enteral Exchange Distribution Solution (NEEEDS). NEEEDS is a collaboration between Wayside Food Programs. New England Life Care and Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute as a resource for both patients, caregivers and practitioners to donate unused, in-date enteral formula and for uninsured and underinsured patients to have free access to the formula prescribed to meet their nutritional needs. 

The program was developed after years of frustration from patients and health care practitioners who were facing a lack of appropriate, accessible resources to redistribute unused, in-date enteral formula. When patients requiring the formula complete their therapy goals, they frequently have leftover. However, due to regulatory constraints, hospitals and home infusion companies are prevented from accepting formula back into their supply chain. In addition, food pantries customarily refuse formula labeled as "medical food". They are left with no other option but to discard the product as solid waste. 

In contrast, uninsured and underinsured patients are often required to purchase enteral formula out-of-pocket, which can create significant financial stress at an estimated $3,000 - $5,000 per year. This program provides free formula to patients who are referred by a registered dietitian. In 2017 over 3,000 lbs of formula was saved from the landfill and more than 50 patients were referred to the program.