Supermarket chain Giant Food will be participating in the Produce Rx pilot program in partnership with local nonprofit D.C. Greens to provide customers better access to healthy food, the former announced in a press release on April 18.
Headquartered in Landover, MD., Giant Food operates 164 stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
“Through the program, customers who are Medicaid beneficiaries through AmeriHealth Caritas D.C. and who are currently experiencing a diet-related chronic illness can receive a prescription for fruits and vegetables from their healthcare provider and fill the prescriptions at the Giant pharmacy at 1535 Alabama Avenue SE in Washington, D.C.,” says the press release.
“Customers may fill prescriptions during their weekly shopping trips at the in-store Giant pharmacy. When filled each week, a Giant pharmacist will provide the customer with a $20 coupon to be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the store’s produce department.”
Gordon Reid, President of Giant Food, said that the company was excited to bring the Produce Rx program to the local Alabama Avenue store. “As a food retailer, we recognize the important role we can play in the access to healthy foods and health education, and the program is certainly a natural fit with our ongoing efforts to support the health needs of the communities we serve,” said Reid.
Giant has a team of expert in-store nutritionists and pharmacists for nutrition counseling and offering access to healthy foods. The company also donated more than five million pounds of food for hunger relief and nutrition education resources in 2018.
Lauren Shweder Biel, Executive Director of D.C. Greens, said that they believe that the cross-sector partnerships are the only way to achieve health equity in the city. “Doctors and patients both need more tools to address food insecurity and diet-related chronic illness. Through Produce Rx, our healthcare system can be a driver to get patients to access the healthy food that they want and need,” said Biel.
The Produce Rx pilot program will run at the Giant store at 1535 Alabama Avenue SE through December 31, 2019. Customers can also renew their prescriptions with their healthcare providers throughout the program. The pilot program will kick-off with 500 AmeriHealth patients, and expand to more individuals in the future.
Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, Director of D.C. Health, said that healthful food is essential to healthy people. “The Produce Prescription Program is part of D.C. Health’s portfolio of innovative Healthful Food Access Initiatives, and these initiatives work together to meet individual and household food access needs while addressing gaps in the food environment in specific areas of our city,” said Nesbitt.
Keith Maccannon, Director of Community Relations and Outreach at AmeriHealth Caritas D.C., added that they were committed to helping members, especially those with chronic health conditions, to improve their overall health by adding more fruits and vegetables to their daily diet.
“Collaboration with community-based organizations and businesses like D.C. Greens and Giant Food are a key component of our strategy in this area,” said Maccannon.
Visit the Giant in-store nutritionist or visit giantfood.com to know more about the Produce Rx Program.