The last few years has shown us that grocery stores are the hub and the heart of community. Food retailers can play a vital role in nutrition education as well as food access and the affordability of healthy food. And as the medical community places more emphasis on the role of food in preventing and treating chronic disease, it’s becoming very clear that grocery retailers are a core part of the healthcare system. Partnerships are critical to the impact we seek to make in this space. The Healthy Living Team at Giant Food partnered with the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), the Prince George’s County Department of Health, and Amerigroup to pilot a new produce prescription program in Prince George’s County, MD. Medical professionals at participating clinics recommend produce benefits and nutrition education to patients experiencing food insecurity and diet-related chronic illness (hypertension, diabetes, and prediabetes). This pilot program, aimed for 160 participants, provides $20 weekly benefit for participants to purchase fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. Nutrition Incentive Programs like Prince George’s Fresh are just one way that Giant Food is thinking outside the box to connect more residents with healthy and affordable food options.
Giant Food has donated the talent and time of our new Community Health Program Manager, Leslie Jefferson, to these efforts. Leslie leads our Nutrition Incentive Programs as well as other programs promoting health equity and food access. Giant has also funded the technological platform needed to offer digital produce benefits as well as free, evidenced-based nutrition education (classes, store tours, consultations) offered by our Healthy Living Team.
• Increase knowledge about healthy food
• Increase consumption of healthy food
• Decrease food insecurity in Prince George's County
• Improve health outcomes of diet-related chronic disease
• Strengthen doctor-patient relationships
• Foster unconventional collaborations between cross-functional public and private sectors
Results pending - program engagement, shopping cart data, program compliance, Nutrition Incentive Programs such as Prince George's Fresh help us to be a better neighbor and bring new customers to Giant. We know 48% of Prince George’s County residents experienced some level of food security last year (2022 Hunger Report, Capital Area Food Bank). These types of creative solutions - where healthcare meets food retail - are needed.
Giant Food has always valued its relationship with the communities we are so privileged to serve, because we understand the vital connection between our associates and the communities where we operate. We know that investing in and fostering our community relationships helps us address larger issues and gives us a greater sense of purpose in our work and personal lives. We also know that the families of our associates and customers thrive when our communities are healthy. We understand that some communities need more support than others in gaining access to affordable, healthy food and nutrition education to improve their health outcomes. That’s exactly why Giant is contributing talent, time, and resources to make a difference.
Ira Kress, President of Giant Food
Amerigroup Maryland is committed to enhancing the “whole health” experience at a local level to improve outcomes for key health conditions. We have partnered with Giant Food to develop and implement a pilot food as medicine program for our members in Prince Georges County. Our partner’s dedication to serving the community and designing a thoughtful program that meets members’ needs was made evident during months of collaboration to design a pilot for Amerigroup members facing food insecurity and diet-related illnesses. Since our engagement began, the pilot has been implemented at three (3) key provider groups where over 100 referrals have been made to the program. We are grateful for their commitment to enhance/grow the current pilot, as well as, connect us with opportunities to expand how we serve members facing food insecurity in the community. Christine Careaga, Provider Collaboration Manager, Amerigroup, an Anthem Company