Jimmy Jones, director of operations, Wilmington region for Food Lion, spoke about the rollout of the food retailer’s pilot program with Novant Health.
Food Lion and Novant Health have teamed on a food pharmacy pilot program at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center, in Wilmington, N.C. The Food as Medicine program gives qualified participants access to nutritious food and encourages them to make healthy lifestyle choices to achieve sustained health. Throughout the two-year pilot, Food Lion will distribute almost 3,000 boxes of shelf-stable nutritious food. Qualified patients will be determined partly through assessments by Novant Health dietitians and team members.
“This partnership with Novant Health is an opportunity to help our neighbors eat healthier by using food as medicine,” noted Matt Yates, VP, brand strategy at Food Lion. “Through the food pharmacy program, we are providing our neighbors with nutritious food that helps them manage chronic illnesses and helps them thrive, setting them up for success.”
At the medical center, dietitians assess patients who are at risk for malnutrition, with part of that assessment also screening for food insecurity. Food-insecure patients are eligible to receive a food pharmacy box upon discharge.
Featuring presorted items chosen with the proprietary Guiding Stars nutrition guidance system, the food pharmacy boxes contain milk, oatmeal, tuna, black beans, cans of no-sodium vegetables, and pasta with sauce, along with information on Food Lion’s nutritious products and Guiding Stars, which provides ratings on products and shelf labels at all Food Lion stores.
“We are so grateful to Food Lion for supporting our vision for a food pharmacy that will benefit patients in need and for their investment in this program that improves health outcomes for individuals in our hospitals and clinics, many [of whom] have a chronic disease and identify as food insecure,” said Schorr Davis, executive director of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation. “Partnerships like this help us further deliver on our mission to improve the health of our communities.”
Food Lion also donated the equivalent of 1,800 meals of the same products offered in the food pharmacy boxes to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Wilmington branch, supporting New Hanover County residents in reaching their health and nutrition goals.
Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health is an integrated network of hospitals, physician clinics and outpatient facilities in North Carolina. The network comprises more than 1,800 physicians and 35,000-plus team members who provide care at more than 800 locations, including 15 hospitals and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics.