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News & Notes

It is estimated that more than 1 million North Carolinians live in food deserts. Food deserts are neighborhoods that have limited access to affordable and nutritious food. Access in many areas is now even more limited because of supply chain struggles and the pandemic. Learn how collaborations in Anson, Union, and Watauga counties are helping people access fresh and affordable food.

About one out of every ten people living in Wake and Durham counties is food insecure, according to a report from Duke Health. To combat the issue, they're partnering with organizations [like Reinvestment Partners] in both counties to address those concerns, looking at food as medicine.

North Carolina is piloting an ambitious, $650-million Medicaid program to address the social factors that contribute to participants’ health. It’s a big lift that’s gotten a slow start.

“You have to get to volume,” said Skillern. He pointed to one of the HOP services his group administers: $40 worth of fruit and vegetables that participants can redeem at Food Lion or Walmart. Medicaid pays the $40, and Reinvestment Partners receives $5.25 as a service fee per person every month. Even if 1,000 clients used the benefit, the organization would only earn $5,250 a month. “It’s still not quite enough to run a program. That’s part of the challenge.”

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