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Local Health Centers Prescribe Fresh Produce

Springfield, Illinois (September 14, 2017) – Thanks to The Walt Disney Company Central Illinois Foodbank, along with partners SIU Center for Family Medicine and Central Counties Health Centers will distribute more fresh produce to those who need it most. Central Illinois Foodbank was awarded a $15,000 grant from Disney to supply two large coolers and fresh produce to each of the health center sites.

“We have been working with SIU Center for Family Medicine and Central Counties Health Centers for nearly two years through our Healthy Foods Distribution program and saw the need that was out there for more fresh produce,” said Central Illinois Foodbank executive director, Pam Molitoris. “We saw an opportunity to partner up with the health centers to do more in the way of making fresh produce available to the most vulnerable, which is why we wrote the grant.”

Often when individuals seek medical care, physicians recommend more fruits and vegetables. However, for low-income individuals who visit these facilities, access to fresh fruits and vegetables can be a challenge due to the higher cost of purchasing fresh produce and limited hours of operation of local pantries, especially for working families.

“This partnership with the Central Illinois Food Bank through the Disney grant has enabled us to provide healthy fresh foods to our patients as part of the services we offer within the medical home here at SIU,” said SIU Department of Family and Community Medicine chair and professor, Janet Albers, MD. “Fresh fruits and vegetables help patients get the nutrients they need and also maintain a healthy weight.  Access to these foods also helps improve management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.”

Since the addition of these coolers in July, the Foodbank has distributed over 30,000 total pounds of fresh produce to the health centers.