October 19, 2020
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic increasing childhood food insecurity across the city, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is taking a number of steps to further combat the issue.
The pediatric hospital system’s Healthy Weight Food Pharmacy, which addresses food insecurity in West Philly, will expand at CHOP’s main campus in University City, CHOP announced.
CHOP also will be building a new Food Pharmacy program at its Karabots Primary Care Center in West Philly. Both initiatives were made possible after CHOP received a $100,000 donation from The Giant Company.
The gift will allow CHOP’s program to increase access for families to fresh, healthy food from once every three months to once a month. The hospital system also will provide families with educational resources on healthy foods, recipes and age-appropriate programming for children.
The new Food Pharmacy program will provide families with immediate, on-site access to healthy food and allow them to enroll in a food delivery or pickup initiative.
It also will allow families to connect to existing resources — either through CHOP or the local community — in order to address certain social needs, as well as to receive support from a CHOP community health worker.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented health and economic challenges for our vulnerable populations, right in our backyard,” said Dr. Saba Khan, who serves as the director of CHOP’s Healthy Weight Food Pharmacy.
“Thanks to our partners at The Giant Company, we will be able to continue our mission to support families in the West Philadelphia community in a responsive, respectful and effective way.”
One in five people in Philly experiences food insecurity, according to CHOP, meaning that many residents are unable to access enough food on a consistent basis in order to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. It furthermore puts the overall health and development of children at risk.
“Like CHOP, The Giant Company wants to take food insecurity off the table, as well as help all families share a healthy meal and the many benefits of doing so,” said Giant’s president Nicholas Bertram. “The expansion of this innovative program is an important step in achieving our goal and one we are proud to be able to support.”
CHOP’s Food Pharmacy program has provided food for more than 1,400 patients and families in West Philly since the initiative began in 2018, the hospital system said.