Success StoryAddressing Health Disparities Through Food
LCHC continues to transform health outcomes by increasing access to healthy food throughout the District.
Addressing Food Deserts With Healthy Food Access
Leadership Council for Healthy Communities Increases Access to Healthy Food Options
The Leadership Council for Healthy Communities (LCHC) partnered with Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture to provide food vouchers to WIC, SNAP and EBT recipients, allowing them to receive more food for their spend. Through funding from the CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches for Community Health (REACH) program, LCHC has been able to improve the quality of items available at local food banks and ensure greater access to healthy food to families across the District of Columbia.
According to combined data from 2018-2020 supplied by the CDC, non-Hispanic Black adults had the highest prevalence of self-reported obesity at 40.7%. The District of Columbia was among the 48 states where non-Hispanic Black adults had an obesity prevalence of 35 percent or higher. Environmental factors are a driving contributor to the prevalence of obesity, and factors such as neighborhood design and availability of affordable and healthy foods are key in determining health outcomes amongst target populations.
The Leadership Council for Healthy Communities took on the challenge of addressing these environmental factors by developing a voucher system that would allow recipients to get more
food for their spend. The QR code on the voucher was used to track where the voucher was used by WIC, SNAP and EBT recipients, what was bought plus an additional discount for the purchase of fresh vegetables and fruit. The pilot program began with 100 vouchers, distributed at partnering faith institutions and housing units. Through this program over 2,000 people received healthy food at Arcadia mobile markets with LCHC being able to track their spend over time.
A visitor to the Arcadia mobile market shared, “There was an excellent selection of fresh fruits and vegetables which was extremely reasonably priced. I got two bags of apples, two bags of nectarines, purple broccoli and more. A few of us even googled recipes for some of the fruits and vegetables we were not familiar with like the purple broccoli. I was really able to stretch mydollars a long way for my children because the prices were so great.”
Implementing the pilot program with Arcadia has allowed LCHC to develop a model that can be replicated with this organization again and with other food banks and farms in the area.
This was a true wakeup call: losing weight, exercise
and making my life more stress free was the goals.