Wellness West, a coalition of Chicago’s health and safety-net institutions, and Instacart today announced a new partnership to help food insecurity and chronically ill individuals on the West Side of Chicago.
Through the partnership, Wellness West will launch a new “Food Connections” program, which will offer eligible Wellness West members a monthly grocery stipend of $79, delivered through Instacart Health Fresh Funds that can be used to purchase nutritious foods like fresh and frozen produce for delivery via Instacart. The digital stipend can be combined with other food benefit programs, like SNAP or eligible supplemental health benefits, allowing members to complete their full shop in one order, creating a more convenient and accessible grocery shopping experience.
Wellness West addresses health equity needs of up to 200,000 uninsured and Medicaid-insured patients diagnosed with at least one of six specific medical conditions who live in 10 West Side zip codes.
Most people in Chicago facing food insecurity are children, older adults, and the poor. Food insecurity can be caused by a job loss, lack of transportation, or health issues. Many Chicagoans are only one paycheck away from facing food insecurity:
● In Chicago metro, 16% of households overall and 22% of households with children suffer from food insecurity. 29% of Black households experience food insecurity
● The Food Empowerment Project reports that more than 500,000 Chicago residents live in food deserts with the vast majority of those living on the South and West Sides
● In the last year, Wellness West has completed over 15,000 Health Risk Assessments of vulnerable populations on the West Side
○ 34% of those surveyed reported running out of food or were worried about running out of food in the last year for lack of money
○ 25% reported needing transportation assistance, which is also an important variable to food access