Delivering better nutrition: Baltimore opens virtual supermarket

Posted at 5:30 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-19 17:30:34-04

The ShopRite van is making a special delivery at Ruscombe Gardens---a senior housing complex where diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity are as much a product of poor eating, as they are symbols of the lack of readily-accessible healthy food.

"I can talk to them about the importance of eating healthy fruit and vegetables, but then they might tell me that they might have to walk several blocks or take many buses and then walk blocks in order to access healthy fruits and vegetables," said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen.
It's estimated 18,000 seniors live in the city's food deserts, and with the help of ShopRite and the Klein family grocers, the city has started up its fourteenth Baltimarket here providing weekly drop offs with no registration, nor delivery fees.

"It doesn't just help the residents,” said Sarah B. Klein, “It actually gives job opportunities for residents of the city.  So as the more orders than come in, the more people we need to pick the orders, the more people who will be employed by this program too."
On top of all of the other problems associated with poor eating, people living in the city's food deserts are also five times more likely to suffer from depression, but with a balanced diet, the hope is that people living in poor areas don't have to have poor health by no choice of their own.

Since the city launched its program eight years ago, customers have purchased almost $600,000 worth of groceries, they may not have had access to otherwise."