PHILADELPHIA — Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) announced it has received a $1 million gift from The GIANT Company to fund the expansion of its Food Pharmacy program, which provides nutritious food and better health outcomes for families experiencing food insecurity. This donation will bring CHOP’s Food Pharmacy program to the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Primary Care Center in Norristown, PA and deliver much-needed services directly to families’ doorsteps. The offering will be virtual and families will order their food online, and with the help of a resource navigator, the items will be delivered directly to their homes. Additionally, there will be a small in-person pantry at the center in Norristown that will store dry food and serve as another resource for families. The pharmacy is scheduled to open this fall.
“More than 120,000 Philadelphia children live below the poverty line and one in five people in Philadelphia experience food insecurity, which means they don’t consistently have access to enough food for an active and healthy lifestyle,” said Saba Khan, MD, attending physician with the CHOP Care Network and Director of Food Pharmacy. “Each year, we deliver thousands of pounds of fresh produce to patient families through our Food Pharmacy program. The GIANT Company provides food, staff and materials to deliver on the promise of a healthier life for those in the community. With this most recent grant, we can serve more children and their families with another Food Pharmacy in Norristown.”
In 2018, The GIANT Company provided an initial gift to establish a Food Pharmacy as part of CHOP’s Healthy Weight Program, launching the first pediatric hospital-based food bank in the country. The program expanded in 2020 thanks to additional funding from The GIANT Company.
“The GIANT Company first became involved with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Food Pharmacy Program in 2018 because the need was clear, and we knew we could help,” said Joanna Crishock, vice president of marketing and commercial planning, The GIANT Company. “Increasing access to healthy foods and promoting nutrition is a priority of ours every day, both in and outside our stores, as is reducing food insecurity. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support the expansion of the Food Pharmacy in Norristown, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this life-changing program will have on families.”
Efforts to address food insecurity often neglect city suburbs, and many areas in need are sandwiched between wealthier ones, creating overlooked pockets with limited access to resources. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this issue, with many populations experiencing food insecurity for the first time. Additionally, there are many disparities affecting access to optimal nutrition and without a healthy diet, children’s overall health and development is at risk. CHOP’s Food Pharmacy program aims to increase access to healthy foods and promote nutrition for families experiencing food insecurity.
The GIANT Company’s donation will increase access by bringing nutritious food where families reside and further bolster resources available at the Karabots Primary Care Center in Norristown. As part of the Food Pharmacy program, families work with a multidisciplinary team of providers to learn how to make healthy lifestyle changes and receive educational resources on healthy foods, recipes and age-appropriate programming for children.
The GIANT Company is one of CHOP’s largest corporate sponsors and has been a Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) partner since 1995. Through The GIANT Company’s CMN round-up campaigns, more than $22 million has been donated to CHOP to support the Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy Department and Food Pharmacy programming. In addition to these campaigns, The GIANT Company has philanthropically supported key capital projects, such as the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care and the King of Prussia Specialty Care Center.