Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Announces Inaugural Healthier Together Grant Recipients

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Healthier Together group photo of recipients Today, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) announced its inaugural Healthier Together Grants, which will fund two community-based programs that tackle food insecurity. The recipients of the Healthier Together Grants will receive funding over the next two years to execute their vision in West and Southwest Philadelphia and fulfill Healthier Together’s mission of addressing the social factors that influence children’s health and well-being.

“We know that a child’s health is greatly influenced by factors that go beyond the medical care we can provide in our hospital or in our CHOP Care Network,” said Madeline Bell, President and Chief Executive Officer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “A child’s family circumstances — from the quality and stability of their housing to their access to adequate food — can be responsible for as much as 80% of their health and well-being.”

“Our overarching goal is to give every child a fair chance at a healthy future, and programs funded by the Healthier Together Grants will help expand our impact and benefit many food-insecure families in our neighborhoods,” added Bell.

The Grantees include:

Strengthening Community Food Sovereignty through Home Gardening and Trauma-Informed Resource Networks in West and Southwest Philadelphia

This project builds sustainable food systems, improves food security, promotes healing from trauma, and employs residents through the installation of home and community gardens and orchards. Using these sites as platforms for health, mentorship, and community-building, the project will focus on neighborhoods in the 19143 and 19139 zip codes. The team will partner with Bartram's Garden, Urban Tree Connection, and the Philadelphia Orchard Project and will be led by Carly J. Freedman, Community Garden and Food Sustainability Program Coordinator at CHOP’s Karabots Pediatric Care Center.

Home Plate + Food Bucks Rx: Empowering West Philadelphia Families to Tackle Hunger and Advance Food Justice. This program will disseminate Home Plate and Food Bucks Rx, evidence-based programs that address food insecurity, among 200 families who have children 5 years old or younger at four early education (ECE) centers in West Philadelphia. Delivered over six weeks, Home Plate helps parents plan, buy, and prepare meals, supporting healthier family food habits and resilience. Food Bucks Rx vouchers will be reimbursed for fruits and vegetables at participating local retailers. The team will partner with The Food Trust, Promise & Possibilities Learning Academy, The Caring Center, Kiddie Prep Academy and Early Head Start and will be led by Dr. Senbagam Virudachalam, the founder of Home Plate and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Healthier Together is a $25 million, 5 year initiative that was launched by CHOP in 2019 to tackle the social determinants of health as a path to improving the health of children. CHOP partners with government agencies, nonprofits and community groups to improve children's health in West and Southwest Philadelphia. In the first two years, Healthier Together leveraged 14 partnerships and collaborations and invested $4 million in the community.

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