Detroit nonprofit delivers fresh produce as a food prescription to those in need against chronic illness
DETROIT (FOX 2) – – What began as a resource for seniors to get fresh produce and checkups in Detroit is growing – not just for people over 55 – but for anyone in need.
A nearly 20-year study found that the death rate of 50 to 59 year olds in Detroit and eight suburbs on the east side was 122 percent higher than the rest of the state. This is partly why several nonprofits realized they had to do something.
Nonprofit works to offer fresh products and health checkups to the most vulnerable people
What began as a resource for seniors to get fresh produce and checkups in Detroit is growing – not just for people over 55 – but for anyone in need.
“We hope seniors will take part in this initiative when people find out about it. The great thing is that they don’t even have to leave their homes, they bring them right to their front door.” said Kerrie Mitchell, VP of Matrix Human Services.
Matrix Human Services, a nonprofit, has been running its Senior Healthy Life Initiative for four months, delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to people over 55 twice a week to improve their overall quality of life.
The “Dying Before Their Time” study was conducted in collaboration with Wayne State Med School and the Detroit Area Agency on Aging. They showed that they had a problem that was getting worse.
FOX 2: “Would you say that the Covid 19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem you saw in low-income people who have access to healthy food?”
“Yes, the pandemic has hit us all hard, but our low-income families have really taken a toll. We have doubled the number of people we serve,” she said.
But now they want to help more people, not just seniors, but anyone who can use their help because of the nearly $ 400,000 additional funding.
“We haven’t even thought of a name, we just want to get the word out,” she said. “We have access to care for as many people as we need. We allow up to 200. But that’s only because the funding allows it.
“But if there’s a big need that we think will exist, I think there are plenty of supporters in the city of Detroit who choose to work with us.”
They partner with Eastern Market and Forgotten Harvest to deliver supplies to people like 78-year-old Louis Banks Jr.
“During this Covid, things were kind of a distress,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”
The product can also be picked up. They call healthy eating a “food recipe” for chronic illness. Banks and many others suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure.
They also offer free quarterly health checkups through the HUDA clinic.
The Michigan League for Public Policy reports that more than 47 percent of Detroit minors live in poverty. The program also aims to help model healthy behavior and lay the foundations for healthy living in order to stop chronic diseases before they start.
For more information on Matrix Human Services, see www.matrixhumanservices.org