A program sponsored by Jacksonville Memorial Hospital will allow shoppers to use a Link card to purchase food at the Jacksonville Farmers Market.
“We’re providing access to healthy food to our community’s most vulnerable population,” said Lori Hartz, director of Community Health at Jacksonville Memorial Hospital. “In 2021, the Community Health Needs Assessment identified obesity as a top health concern in Morgan County, as it is a root cause of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. One of the ways we are addressing obesity in Morgan County is by expanding access to the healthy, fresh foods available at our local farmers market.”
Jacksonville Memorial Foundation trustees voted in February to provide a start-up grant to support access to fresh food for families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which supplements the food budgets of families in need.
The grant covers costs of equipment and staff for tracking, reporting and reimbursement associated with offering the use of Link cards at the farmers market. In addition, the hospital received a grant from Experimental Station to double the value of Link card purchases made at the farmers market. The Link Up Illinois grant provides a means for healthier food access to underserved populations in rural towns, said Hartz.
The Jacksonville Farmers Market opens May 7 in its new location in Pathway Plaza, 1905 W. Morton Ave., Jacksonville. The market is open 7 a.m. – noon Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through Oct. 29.