What they do: Fresh Connect is a technology-enabled food prescription program under the auspices of the Boston-based nonprofit About Fresh. Partnering healthcare organizations – including providers, insurers, and community-based organizations – can prescribe Fresh Connect prepaid debit cards to eligible food-insecure patients. The cards can then be used as frequently as needed to buy healthy foods at participating retailers, including grocery stores, mobile markets, farmer’s markets, restaurants, and online. Healthcare teams use data collected from the shoppers’ card usage and health records to analyze health outcomes, healthcare costs, healthy food access, and participant experience. Every three months participants are asked about their food security status in order to measure the program’s impact.
How they do it: Healthcare professionals provide baseline health indicators and enroll their patients in the program, and the Fresh Connect team mails participants their prepaid debit cards. The healthcare providers determine the amount of money to be loaded onto the card each month, how long the patient will participate in the program, and what foods will qualify to be purchased with the card. The Fresh Connect cards use smart technology to recognize and pay for eligible healthy foods at checkout. The Fresh Connect team can track what foods the shoppers are buying with their cards and use that information, merged with electronic health records or insurance claims data, to provide customized reports regarding the program’s impact on each participant.
Mission: To improve health outcomes by getting healthy food to those who need it most.
Annual Budget: Undisclosed
Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: In 2022, 4,065 individuals enrolled in Fresh Connect, compared to 974 in 2021. On average, participants spent $85 on qualifying healthy foods each month.
Locations: More than 25,000 retail locations nationwide
Core Programs: Food prescription program
Number of staff: 15
Number of volunteers: 0
Areas served: Nationwide
Year Started: 2019
Program Director: Michael Lantow
Contact Information: Email: email@example.com | Phone: (857) 256-0560
- Boston’s About Fresh: Mobile Markets Advance Community Health (Whole Cities Foundation)
- CHA Partners with About Fresh to Launch Fresh Connect Program to Help Underserved Patients Access Healthy Foods (Cambridge Health Alliance)
- Fresh Connect (About Fresh)
- Fresh Connect is a Prescription for Healthy Food (Edible Boston)
- Introducing FreshConnect (About Fresh)
- A Prescription For… Food. Debit Card Program Enables Doctors to Help Patients Buy Healthy Groceries. (The Boston Globe)
- Stop & Shop and About Fresh Join Forces to Increase Access to Fresh and Healthy Food in Massachusetts (Stop & Shop)
- Stop & Shop Customers in Need Can Use Pre-Paid Debit Cards to Buy Fresh Produce (Progressive Grocer)
- Stop & Shop Expands Access to ‘Produce Prescription’ Prepaid Card (Supermarket News)
- Stop & Shop to Allow Customers to Buy Fresh Food With Prescription From Healthcare Provider (Mass Live)
- Teaming up for Holiday Hunger Relief (Axios)