FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., March 18, 2024 — The American Heart Association, dedicated to a world of healthier lives for all, has locked arms with Community Clinic, Cobblestone Farms and United Way of NWA to get healthy homegrown food into the hands of through residents the Food is Medicine initiative. The program is supported by a $99,950 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

In Northwest Arkansas, one in every eight households reports having food insecurity — limited or uncertain access to adequate food — due to one or more social determinants of health.

“The American Heart Association believes in the right to healthy food for all people to live their best lives,” said Brady Lacy, American Heart Association community impact director in Arkansas. “Nutrition security is our priority and that means connecting the dots among local community organizations and clinical partners that provide services for under-resourced vulnerable populations.”

Community Clinic, the American Heart Association-Northwest Arkansas and the Walmart Foundation have been working together for two years to increase food safety for qualified applicants screened through physician visits to the clinic. The original program, Lifestyle Rx, provided vouchers for fresh produce and other healthy foods. But patients have to go back to the clinic to pick up their prescribed groceries.

“We learned that returning to the clinic for food pick-ups posed a significant barrier for many patients,” said Beth Jones, also a community impact director for the Association.

As a result, the partnership was extended to include the nonprofit Cobblestone Farm in Fayetteville and the United Way of Northwest Arkansas, which provides funding for Door Dash drivers to deliver healthy farm food to qualified patients in the Washington County area.

Each week, Cobblestone delivers seasonal fruits and vegetables to the American Heart Association-NWA office in Fayetteville. The American Heart Association-NWA repackages the groceries into 5-pound reusable bags with cooking utensils and a heart-healthy cookbook for patients. Educational resources are available in Marshallese and Spanish to meet the needs of the recipients.

Clients must live within a 10-mile radius of the Association’s office to take advantage of the free delivery. It takes two to three Door Dashers – each can deliver up to 10 boxes a day. The program had a successful test run in February and will start in earnest in mid-April.

“This initiative ensures that vital food support reaches individuals and families directly, removing barriers and promoting healthier outcomes within our community,” Jones said.

“We understand the critical need for this access among some community members to improve their health,” said Jordan Lanning, interim executive director at Cobblestone Farms. “We are grateful for the opportunity to have a deeper impact on our neighbors who rely on our food to get better.”

The Walmart Foundation grant also funded the Cooking Matters program to teach under-resourced families how to cook and shop for healthy foods on a budget. By the end of the year, the Association hopes to use Food is Medicine to reach 300 individuals at the clinic and an additional 120 individuals in the Cooking Matters program through education and increased access to healthy foods.

For 100 years, the American Heart Association has saved and improved lives, pioneered scientific discovery and advocated for healthy public policies in communities across the country. These bold moves are fueled by our mission to be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives. They have helped transform our nation’s health and significantly reduce heart disease and stroke death rates. But these gains have not been shared equitably. Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Asian American, Pacific Islander and LGBTQ+ people have suffered and died disproportionately. So there are people in historically underrepresented communities all over the country. With Bold Hearts and powered by science, we pledge to work relentlessly to eliminate heart disease and stroke, optimize brain health and ensure equitable health in every community.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 – our Centennial year – we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook or X by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries

Cyd King: M 479.263.8473; cyd.king@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org

American Heart Association fosters nutritional security with healthy food delivery to rural and homebound residents

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