Expanding WIC Access and Redemption Through a Mobile Market
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
November 23, 2021
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that satisfies their dietary needs and food preferences.
The link between food and health is clear. Nutritious food can act as medicine, helping to prevent and manage disease. But too much food, too little food, food that is not nutritious, or food that is not culturally appropriate can have serious health consequences. NYHealth’s Healthy Food, Healthy Lives priority area works at the intersection of health and food to improve access to healthy and affordable foods, reduce food insecurity, and promote equity. To help leverage new and existing opportunities that promote promising policies and scale best practices, NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), “Advancing Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives.” Through this RFP, NYHealth is supporting organizations across New York State working to improve food and nutrition quality; increase access to healthy and affordable food; and grow participation in food benefit and nutrition incentive programs. In 2021, NYHealth awarded Foodlink a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, Foodlink will expand its mobile Curbside Market (CSM) program in Rochester to expand healthy food options for families that use the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Access to healthy food options is extremely limited for families in Rochester that use WIC, and CSM is one of the only mobile markets to accept eWIC payments. Foodlink maintains strong partnerships with community organizations, including low-income and senior housing, health care sites, community centers, faith-based organizations, and childcare centers. Expansion of the program will enable CSM to operate a route five days a week at fifteen unique sites, serving hundreds of people in Rochester each day. Foodlink will also increase its WIC Ambassadors program by an additional 13 Ambassadors. These Ambassadors will conduct outreach in their communities to garner feedback about the market. By creating opportunities for low-income residents at CSM sites to shape the future of the program, this project will build access to healthier, affordable food both with and for the people who need it.