(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Since a new location opening we covered in 2015, a Baltimore program doubled the number of locations offering online grocery ordering in areas that lack supermarkets or healthy food offerings.
On Monday morning, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen passed out groceries to mark the opening of the 14th location of Virtual Supermarket at the Ruscombe Gardens, a low-income senior housing facility in the Cylburn neighborhood of northwest Baltimore.
It’s the latest facility offering seniors the option of ordering groceries. The groceries are delivered to the complex, where residents can pick them up.
Launched in 2014, the Virtual Supermarket program is a partnership between the city’s health department and Klein’s Family Markets, which owns ShopRite.
Food insecure seniors not only suffer from greater rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure — they are also 5x more likely to suffer from depression #VirtualSupermarket pic.twitter.com/G9d1ks1Az6
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) March 19, 2018
According to a new study released earlier this year by the health department and Johns Hopkins’ Center for a Livable Future, 23.5 percent of Baltimoreans live in areas that lack affordable, healthy food options from grocery stores and other spots. Additionally, researchers said the community advocated rebranding the areas from food deserts to “healthy food priority areas.” In Baltimore, nearly 18,000 seniors live in these areas.
When it launched, officials said the Virtual Supermarket program was the first to accept EBT/food stamps for online grocery ordering. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has since launched a pilot that expanded the option to ShopRite and Safeway locations.
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