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September 13, 2022

SCHA Foundation Awarded $500K Grant from USDA for Produce Prescription Program to Combat Diabetes

Columbia, SC, Sept. 13, 2022 – The SCHA Foundation is proud to announce that a new $500K grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will support the launch of a “prescription produce” program to improve dietary health in patients diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. The project is a partnership between several members of Food is Medicine SC, including the University of South Carolina, Diabetes Free SC, and the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, and is an expansion of the Veggie Rx-Clinical Integration model created by Foodshare SC.

The new program takes advantage of FoodShare SC’s statewide food access network already in place. Patients with a diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes and who reside in Georgetown, Spartanburg, Union, or Williamsburg will be invited to participate.  The counties were selected based on economic and transportation limitations, which can cause food insecurity in communities.  A referral will be sent from the clinical team to the local county FoodShare hub, which will provide the fresh food box to the patient twice per month over the next six months at no cost and with continuing availability thereafter. Clinical labs will be taken at months one and six to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program.

By providing access to high-quality produce to families with limited income and transportation, the project aims to improve food security by bridging the gap between healthcare and local food systems.

“This program is part of the SCHA Foundation’s commitment to improving overall population health outcome measures and reducing health disparities,” said Melanie Matney, the president of the non-profit division of the South Carolina Hospital Association.  “This program is a sterling example of how the hospital community can work with statewide partners across the state to truly make a difference.”

The funding was made available under the USDA’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) Produce Prescription Program as part of the American Rescue Plan. GusNIP Produce Prescription projects provide financial and non-financial incentives to income-eligible individuals and families to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to improve dietary health.

“The USDA continues to make strides in transforming our nation’s food system,” said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and USDA Chief Scientist. “Through this investment, USDA is making more nutritious food available to more people at more affordable prices. The GusNIP Produce Prescription Program demonstrates the invaluable impact that access to fresh fruits and vegetables has on communities in need.”

Press Contact:

Kyle Petersen
Communications Manager, SCHA