Instacart announces new partnership to expand food-as-medicine efforts in Chicago

Grocery delivery company Instacart has announced a partnership with Wellness West to provide groceries to food insecure and chronically ill residents on the West Side of Chicago.

Wellness West is a coalition made up of healthcare and social service providers that serves vulnerable populations on the West Side of Chicago. Through the partnership, qualified Wellness West members will be able to participate in a new ‘Food Connections’ program, which will provide them with a $79 monthly stipend to order healthy grocery items through Instacart’s Fresh Funds program.

The stipend can be combined with other food benefits programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Wellness West will also work with Instacart to prioritize delivery from small, family-owned grocery stores.

“We are very pleased to be joining forces with Instacart to advance the cause of health equity,” Misty Drake, executive director for Wellness West and vice president of client serves and growth for Medical Home Network, said in a statement. “For the communities we serve, a whole person model of care that addresses social factors such as access to healthy food is essential. With this partnership, Instacart’s state-of-the-art consumer-tech platform is brought to the mission of helping people across the West Side who are facing significant barriers to healthy dietary options.

Sixteen percent of households overall and 22% of households with children suffer from food insecurity in the Chicago Metro Area, according to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Instacart has been active in the healthcare space as of late. Earlier this month, it expanded its food-as-medicine efforts by partnering with Alignment Health to offer Instacart’s first Medicare Advantage Plan. It also introduced its Fresh Funds program to recovering post operative and post-partum patients who are insured by a Mount Sinai Solutions customer health plan.

“Everyone should have reliable access to healthy and nutritious food, but today, far too many communities experience nutrition insecurity. Through Instacart Health, we’re using the power of our technology to bridge the gap and ensure more families can put wholesome foods on their tables,” Sarah Mastrorocco, vice president and general manager of Instacart Health, said in a statement. “We’re proud to partner with Wellness West to help families on the West Side of Chicago overcome barriers to access and get the foods they need to support their health and well-being.”

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