Virtua Marks 5th Anniversary of Innovative Food Access Program

May 6, 2022

Community invited to celebrate Virtua’s Mobile Grocery Store, Mobile Farmers Market, and Food Farmacy

Virtua Health marked the 5th anniversary of our Eat Well food access program, which launched in spring 2017 with the introduction of Virtua’s year-round Mobile Farmers Market. The program has since expanded with a Mobile Grocery Store —a 40-foot converted transit bus—and Food Farmacy with two locations.

The community celebration included free indoor health screenings, chair massages, and prizes—peelers, potholders, can openers, and other kitchen tools. Guests shopped at the two mobile stores and visited Virtua’s indoor Food Farmacy in Camden. The first 75 families received a reusable shopping bag containing a delicious, healthy recipe and all the ingredients to make pico de gallo.

Children from nearby schools received their own bags of fresh produce, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles and were invited to participate in an interactive nutrition lesson provided just for kids.

Virtua’s Eat Well program enhances access to healthy, affordable food in food desert communities across South Jersey. It helps reduce risks of diet-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

“Over the past five years, this program has become life-changing for thousands of area residents,” says Debra Moran, Virtua’s vice president of community-based services. “People are eating better and feeling better. And their children are learning healthy eating habits, which will bring life-long benefits to them and future generations.” 

Eat Well’s food access program provides fresh, healthy, culturally relevant foods at deeply discounted prices to neighborhoods-in-need across Burlington and Camden counties. A registered dietitian is available to answer customers’ dietary questions, provide easy, healthy recipes, and offer one-on-one nutrition counseling.

The program addresses a significant need as an estimated 15% of Camden County residents and 12% of Burlington County residents don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to Feeding America.

The Eat Well Mobile Grocery Store and Mobile Farmers Market are year-round programs that visit the same sites on the same day and time each week, so area residents can rely on them as a source of nutritious, affordable food.

Virtua’s Food Farmacy—located at Virtua sites in Camden and Mount Holly—is a structured, six-month program serving people with diet-related chronic conditions who experience food insecurity. It provides enrolled patients with nutrition education, social support resources, and access to free produce and nonperishable groceries.

Michelle F., a customer, appreciates the program and said “Eat Well’s service is amazing and the produce is so fresh! I especially love that they promote healthy eating to everyone, but the fact that they offer 50% incentives to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT customers shows they care most about those in need.” 
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