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$85,000 funding will support program to expand food access for pediatric patients

DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital has received an $85,000 grant from Rite Aid Healthy Futures designed to help expand equitable care and improve health outcomes for children in underserved and vulnerable neighborhoods. 

The children’s hospital will use the funding to partner with Geisinger pediatrics and Geisinger’s Fresh Food Farmacy to develop a pilot program that expands food access to patients age 6 to 17. Fresh Food Farmacy uses a food-as-medicine approach to treating food-insecure adults with Type 2 diabetes by providing education and enough fresh food for 10 meals a week to patients and their families. 

The pilot program will be focused on primary prevention — intervening before health effects occur — and unlike Fresh Food Farmacy, will not require a clinical diagnosis for participation. Patients will be enrolled based on a food insecurity screening of the household and the child and family’s willingness to participate. The program will also seek referrals from Fresh Food Farmacy patients who have children in their households. Its goal is to serve 75 families and conduct a thorough review for possible replication across Geisinger’s large, mostly rural service area. 

“This grant will profoundly impact our ability to create an innovative program focused on addressing social determinants of health in the community we serve,” said Jackie Seidel, director of Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) at Geisinger. “We’re grateful for Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital’s long-standing relationship with Rite Aid Healthy Futures and the continued support they give to CMN Hospitals.”

The funding comes through Healthy Futures’ Connecting Communities signature initiative and is part of an overall $3 million investment in more than 30 children’s hospitals serving Rite Aid communities.

The initiative will support a wide range of hospitals and their community-based programs across 15 states. Funded programs concentrate on screening for food insecurity, food distribution and nutrition education, and aim to eliminate obstacles that keep communities from achieving health and wellness.

The children’s hospital previously used funding from Healthy Futures to develop emergency preparedness programming to educate families and professionals on children with special needs.

Grants are funded through Rite Aid’s KidCents fundraising program. Generous Rite Aid customers can round up their purchases online or in-store to support children’s health and wellness. Healthy Futures reinvests the funds into Rite Aid communities through programs like Connecting Communities.

“Expanding equitable care doesn’t start in the emergency room. It starts in our neighborhoods,” said Matt DeCamara, executive director of Rite Aid Healthy Futures. “Though the needs are great, so are the opportunities for progress. Children’s hospitals already play a critical role delivering vital medical care, and many of these institutions have developed impactful programs to serve kids, families and communities in ways that extend beyond traditional medical care. Working together, we can ensure everyone has what they need to live longer, healthier lives.”


About Rite Aid Healthy Futures
Rite Aid Healthy Futures, formerly known as The Rite Aid Foundation, is a public charity dedicated to driving change in communities, with emphasis on underserved neighborhoods, focusing on the areas of health, wellness, race and equity. Together with our donors, Rite Aid associates, community partners and neighbors, we help lift up local neighborhoods through caring actions and investments that make a real difference in people’s lives. Healthy Futures is proud to be affiliated with Rite Aid, which provides an array of whole being health products and services for the entire family through over 2,000 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. Visit www.RiteAidHealthyFutures.org to learn more.

About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a Research Institute and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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For media inquires:

R. Matthew Mattei
Media Relations Specialist

570-808-3971
rmmattei1@geisinger.edu