Hunts Point’s homegrown chain of health clinics, Urban Health Plan, has received a $50,000 grant from the City Council, to provide healthier food to South Bronx residents and help prevent illnesses caused by poor diet.
City Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. presented the organization with the $50,000 check at its annual Diabetes Expo at Field of Dreams Park on East 167th Street and Southern Boulevard on July 27. The donation is part of the city health department’s Health Bucks program, designed to help low-income families pay for more nutritious food.
“The South Bronx suffers from some of the highest rates of diabetes, heart disease and asthma in the City, and as the nation’s poorest congressional district, many in my community cannot afford fresh produce,” said Salamanca. “You shouldn’t have to be wealthy to live a healthy lifestyle,” he said, adding that the Health Bucks program is “a great way to improve low-income access to NYC farmers markets.” The $50,000 allocation is the largest provided to any district in the city this year.
Urban Health Plan will manage distribution of the allocated money to patients in its programs.
Here’s how Health Bucks works: the health department supplies $2 coupons for individuals and families to use to buy fresh produce at any of the city’s farmers markets. Families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get even more Health Bucks by using their benefits while shopping at those markets. For every $5 SNAP participants spend, they get $2 in Health Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.