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Mobile food pharmacies for better health in city's needy areas
Published Thursday, February 6, 2020 10:07 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post


A partnership between Loaves & Fishes and ONE Charlotte Health Alliance brings mobile food pharmacies to Charlotte's food deserts. From left: Tesarah Boyd, community health worker, Atrium Health; Dr. Iris Cheng, clinical professor of medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Atrium Health and Latoya Mallard, project manager, Atrium Health and ONE Charlotte Health Alliance.

Mobile food pharmacies are making their way across Charlotte.

Two have been sent to areas deemed food deserts, providing access to fresh and nutritious food as a partnership between Loaves & Fishes and ONE Charlotte Health Alliance, a collaboration between Atrium Health, Novant Health and the Mecklenburg County Health Department. The mobile food pharmacies can be found in communities where access to fresh food is difficult due to availability, cost, or lack of transportation.

“At Loaves & Fishes, we know that food is medicine. A person’s access to nutritious food dramatically impacts their overall health as well as their ability to function and thrive in the workplace or in school,” executive director Tina Postel said in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with ONE Charlotte Health Alliance to mobilize our network of emergency food pantry operations. These mobile food pharmacies will provide the access to nutritionally balanced groceries directly in the neighborhoods that need it the most.”

Mobile food pharmacies are lined with built-in shelves, coolers, as well as a freezer. A member of OCHA will accompany the unit to aid visitors with information about general nutrition, as well as nutrition pertaining to specific health conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.

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Locations will be added throughout the year based on need. Those experiencing food insecurity are eligible for a referral from the mobile food pharmacies using the Client Choice model. Individuals may select a specific number of dairy, fruits, grains, proteins and vegetables depending on family size. A registered dietician considers the items provided by each unit, as it pertains to the five food groups.

“The allotment serves an estimated 21 meals per person, per week,” according to OCHA.

Four OCHA mobile health units are making their way around Charlotte starting this month; two mobile food pharmacies, and two mobile health units, which address medical, dental and behavioral health.

Current mobile food pharmacy locations include: River Church (512 W 32nd Street), Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church (1801 Rozzelles Ferry Road) and Northeast Seventh-Day Adventist Church (827 Tom Hunter Road). Additional locations will be added throughout the year, with the highest priority going to areas demonstrating the greatest need.

The February schedule of OCHA mobile health units:

Feb. 10, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. at Sugar Creek Library (4045 N. Tryon St., Suite A)

Feb. 11, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Crisis Assistance Ministry (500-A Spratt Street)

Feb. 17, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Beatties Ford Library (2412 Beatties Ford Road)

Feb. 18, 8:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Crisis Assistance Ministry

Feb. 21, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Hickory Grove Library (5935 Hickory Grove Road)

Feb. 24, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at NCMedAssist (4428 Targgart Creek Road)

Feb. 25, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Crisis Assistance Ministry  


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