Over $2M Awarded to Support Healthy Food Access Programs Statewide

A nationwide survey completed by Michigan State University stated that 31 percent of people report that the pandemic has affected their ability to feed their families. Several risk factors of maternal mortality, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, rely on a healthy diet; however, accessing healthy food can be a challenge for low-income pregnant individuals.

Maternal mortality and morbidity remain a serious issue in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. As the fiscal agent for federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation released a healthy food access RFP in 2023 to distribute up to $2.5 million in funding for short-term, food-as-medicine style projects.

Over $4 million in requests were received. An external review committee of healthy food access experts from across Pennsylvania convened to review proposals and make funding recommendations. A total of 14 organizations were recommended for funding. Twelve organizations are currently under contract, with two more soon to be underway:

  • Accion Communal Latinamericana de Montgomery County (ACLAMO) was awarded $99,958 to support the Safe Haven Food Pantry and Community Closet, which provides holistic, bilingual, and bicultural programming, nutritious food, health education, and material resources to Latinx pregnant people and new families in Montgomery County. The intake process helps to identify intersectional needs and social determinants of health that can be addressed by CHWs, social workers, or other services.
  • Adagio Health was awarded $200,000 to expand food cupboards, along with a mobile unit that will expand the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program's reach in the five-county footprint of Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana, and Lawrence counties beyond the brick-and-mortar offices. Additionally, teaching kitchens will be available for clients enrolled in 5-county WIC program prenatal patients at Adagio Health office locations in Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence counties.
  • The Alliance for Health Equity was awarded $200,000 to help low-income pregnant residents of Coatesville and new families in the area learn, choose, prepare, and consume healthy foods specific to their health needs by providing cooking classes, education, and food distribution. Patients at ChesPenn Health Services will receive prescriptions for personalized, healthy food items onsite and free of cost. In collaboration with the Chester County Food Bank, the program will also support educating participants regarding food preparation from a nutritionist.
  • Allegheny Health Network was awarded $195,274 to increase impact related to maternal nutrition and food insecurity support through a collaboration with the AHN Healthy Food Centers. Doulas/CHWs will be trained to provide culturally appropriate, basic maternal nutrition education to pregnant and postpartum clients during home visits and appointments on an ongoing basis. Through this project, Doulas/CHWs will learn to recognize and address food insecurity and nutrition-related concerns during their encounters through screening assessments and informal conversation and act accordingly by providing tailored food boxes to their clients.
  • Chester County Food Bank was awarded $97,685 to expand its current Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program for Chester County families enrolled in WIC. The program provides eligible families with a prescription card that can be used at the Fresh2You Mobile Market during the summer and fall months, in addition to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes during the winter months, and year-round educational workshops and recipes. Participants will be enrolled during pregnancy or early postpartum and the prescription will end at 12 months postpartum when their other WIC benefits have expired.
  • Family Health Council of Central PA was awarded $52,076 to provide targeted education by a WIC nutritionist and expand the existing "Farmer's Market Dollars" program, which will ensure the continued availability of a Farmer's Market Nutrition Program-voucher produce match for WIC clients who are pregnant or up to 12 months postpartum and expand healthy food access for at least 330 people each year.
  • Fayette County Community Action Agency was awarded $200,000 to provide monthly cooking classes to low-income pregnant people and new families in Fayette County. Classes will teach food preparation and provide participants with nutritional bags filled with fruits and vegetables. Additionally, participants will receive Farmer's Market Vouchers that are redeemable at the on-site Farmer's Market.
  • The Food Trust was awarded $200,000 to expand its Food Bucks Rx produce prescription program, which partners with Philadelphia-based healthcare partners to offer eligible patients prescription coupons or cards to be redeemed for fresh fruits and vegetables at nearby supermarkets, corner stores, and farmers markets. Free nutrition education will be offered in two modes, virtually and in-person. Additionally, funding will support 4-6 cooking workshops, with options to engage children alongside their caregivers. The workshops are designed to engage participants in preparing healthy meals, meal planning on a budget, and eating a nutrient-rich diet.
  • Helping Harvest was awarded $200,000 to provide prescription food boxes and education to food-insecure pregnant and postpartum people living in Berks or Schuylkill Counties through a partnership with Berks Community Health Center, in addition to supporting SNAP enrollment. Program expansion will also involve these services for patients at obstetrician and pediatrician practices within Tower Health, Penn State Health - St. Joseph's, St. Luke's, Lehigh Valley Health Network, as well as local WIC offices, Nurse-Family Partnership, and others in their service area.
  • MANNA was awarded $200,000 to expand its gestational diabetes food delivery for pregnant clients to serve 60 clients in North Philadelphia by providing 36 weeks of home-delivered, medically tailored meals, including two months postpartum, in addition to providing nutritional counseling and other nutrition education. Participants will be identified by Einstein Healthcare Network and co-enrolled in their Diabetes in Pregnant Management Program, which provides weekly telehealth visits.
  • United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey was awarded $197,448 to launch a pilot wraparound "Food is Medicine" program that provides comprehensive, neighbor-centric, and tailored food benefits and nutrition counseling to pregnant people with gestational diabetes in Philadelphia. Participants will have the option to choose from home-delivered medically tailored meals, healthy non-tailored meals, grocery boxes, and food vouchers. The program will be implemented through the Philadelphia Partnership for Nutrition and Health, which includes United Way, MANNA, Philabundence, Jefferson Health Plan/Health Partners Plans, Jefferson, and Temple.
  • York County Food Bank was awarded $200,000 to partner with Family First Health to identify 100 food-insecure, low-income pregnant people and their families each month. Participants will then be referred to York County Food Bank's Online Pantry Program, where they will be able to order food boxes, along with recipes, nutrition education, and additional community resources.

Projects will run through 2026. 

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