A mother and son shop for produce at a Stop & Shop store in the New York City borough of The Bronx.
Stop & Shop has teamed with About Fresh, a platform enabling health care professionals to connect patients to nutritious food, and Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) on a Fresh Connect tech-enabled food prescription program that will give prepaid debit cards to families to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at local Stop & Shop stores in the New York City borough of The Bronx. To fund the initiative, Stop & Shop, the first major retailer in the country to partner with About Fresh, has provided a $75,000 grant.
“We talk with our families regularly about the importance of a healthy diet, but we know that many of them have difficulty finding and affording high-quality produce,” said Suzette Oyeku, chief, division of academic general pediatrics at CHAM and professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, both based in The Bronx. “Through this new partnership with Stop & Shop and About Fresh, we will be able to help families buy healthy foods and hope to instill sustainable habits that can help decrease risks for chronic health conditions like diabetes, obesity and heart disease.”
“We are particularly excited about the opportunity to partner with CHAM to reach kids and families,” noted Josh Trautwein, co-founder and CEO of Boston-based About Fresh. “Providing children with fresh produce through Fresh Connect will be a powerful way to anchor a lifetime love for healthy food.”
The six-month pilot program will support about 100 families identified by Montefiore. The families chosen for the Fresh Connect program will get debit cards to buy $100 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables each month at Stop & Shop stores. The new program comes at a time when millions of SNAP recipients lost additional payments that were temporarily provided during the pandemic.
“As a major food retailer with a strong presence in New York City, we recognize the important role we play in improving access to healthy and affordable food for our communities,” said Gordon Reid, president of Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop. “We are proud to partner with the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore to be the first to bring the Fresh Connect prescription produce program to The Bronx to help our neighbors struggling with food insecurity gain more access to fresh, high-quality foods that support their health and well-being.”
Stop & Shop also recently donated $10,000 to CHAM to help renovate a playroom for children with cancer.