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The Baltimore City Health Department is relaunching its Virtual Supermarket Program (VSP). The program aims to boost access to healthy foods for low-income residents living in the city's food deserts by enabling participants to place and receive grocery orders at local libraries, elementary schools or senior/disabled housing sites without paying a delivery fee. Participants can pay for their groceries via cash, credit, debit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
VSP will be supported by the new Baltimarket website, sponsored by Delmarva Foundation, a Columbia, Md.-based health care quality improvement company.
"Delmarva Foundation's mission is to create solutions to transform health," explained Dr. Fredia Wadley, CEO of Easton, Md.-based Quality Health Strategies, the foundation's parent company. "Supporting this effort is consistent with our core efforts to promote wellness in this critical area."
Part of a federal government-funded Special Innovation Project, the website provides information on healthful eating opportunities, including farmers' markets, food options, events and community gardening activities within Baltimore. It additionally furnishes information on the Healthy Eating Linking Partnerships for Seniors (HELPS) program, along with other health and community resources. HELPS, which offers on-site health education, resources and support for seniors in public housing projects and senior centers in Baltimore, is expanding to six additional facilities in the city.
As part of HELPS, the new "Eating Together" program, sponsored by the Office of Aging and Care Services, opened on July 23 at Hollins House, a Baltimore public housing residence.