Eat Well: Produce Prescription Program Spotlight

by Marissa Sheldon

What they do: Eat Well is a produce prescription program in North Carolina managed by the nonprofit Reinvestment Partners. Participants receive $40 each month to purchase WIC-approved fruits and vegetables from any Food Lion store in the state. Depending on the funding source, the length of the program varies from three months to two years. Reinvestment Partners collects benefit redemption information (i.e. the foods and quantities being purchased) and participant survey responses, including self-reported health outcomes, throughout the course of the program.

How they do it: Healthcare partners enroll their patients into the Eat Well program. Eligibility requirements vary for different healthcare providers, but participants are generally low-income and have one or more risk factors for a diet-related disease such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. A $40 electronic benefit is loaded onto participants’ Food Lion customer loyalty cards each month, and participants can use it to purchase any fruits or vegetables – canned, fresh, or frozen – without added salt, sugar, or fat.

Eat Well partners with academic researchers to evaluate changes in health and healthcare outcomes. Reinvestment Partners implements the program and provides programmatic data to the researchers, who combine it with participants’ health data, to evaluate outcomes.

Mission: To provide people with the healthy food they want and need

Major Funding: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, North Carolina state budget, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $4.2 million in 2022

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: Eat Well participants purchase almost twice the number of fruits and vegetables they did before enrolling in the program.

FACT SHEET:

Locations: Any Food Lion store in North Carolina

Core Programs: Produce prescription program

Number of staff: 7

Number of volunteers: 0

Area served: North Carolina

Year Started: 2017

Director: Neal Curran, Director of Food Programs, Reinvestment Partners

Contact Information: Phone: (919) 667-1000 Ext. 50, Email: neal@reinvestmentpartners.org

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