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  • Bruce Baker

Healthy Long Branch Partners Launch Long Branch Healthy Food Access Program

Food insecurity is a prominent health issue in Long Branch and research shows that when people with diabetes cannot get reliable access to healthy food their health suffers. CHEER has partnered with health care providers, Washington Adventist Hospital and Mobile Med, and local food providers, Manna Food Center and Crossroads Community Food Network, to establish a bi- directional referral system in which food insecure people with diabetes get 3 months of weekly distributions of fresh produce and Long Branch and Takoma Park food recipients with diabetes get primary medical care.

In June and July, 25 participants enrolled in the program to receive a weekly package of healthy food for three months. This includes produce that has been sourced from Hungry Harvest, a box of selected healthy food from Manna, and a monthly farmers’ market visit. During the three months of the active intervention, participants meet regularly with CHEER community health workers to provide personal support for receiving and using the food to improve their health. The program includes a healthy eating class, cooking demonstration, and grocery store tours for low cost healthy food shopping.

The primary goals of the program are to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, increase food security, reduce obesity, and improve health outcomes for people with diabetes. The program also provides for follow up to see if these outcomes can be sustained a year after enrollment. This program is funded by the Healthcare Initiative Foundation with additional support from Adventist Health Care, and in-kind support from the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County for program evaluation.

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