The health system held giveaways in Willingboro and Camden,
where visitors could also see Virtua’s soon-to-launch Mobile Grocery Store
(WILLINGBORO and CAMDEN, NJ, Dec. 2, 2020) Thousands of South Jersey residents enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving this year, courtesy of Virtua Health.
The not-for-profit health system gave away 1,500 frozen turkeys and bags of fresh produce to community members last week at Virtua Willingboro Hospital and the Virtua Health & Wellness Center - Camden.
“For many local residents, Virtua’s annual giveaways provide a delicious and nourishing Thanksgiving meal they could not otherwise afford,” said Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, president and CEO of Virtua Health. “I’m grateful to all of Virtua’s generous supporters, volunteers, and staff who make these events possible.”
Virtua leaders helped hand out the 12- to 14-pound birds – plus reusable tote bags stuffed with fresh celery, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, and spices for the turkey.
In Willingboro, Virtua held a drive-thru event, while the Camden event was walk-up. Everyone was required to wear a mask and practice social distancing at both sites.
This year’s events also had a new attraction: visitors got a first look at the brand-new Eat Well Mobile Grocery Store– the latest addition to Virtua’s food-access programs. The 40-foot store-on-wheels will start visiting area communities in December. The vehicle was parked alongside its sister program, Virtua’s Eat Well Mobile Farmers Market.
“Increasing people’s access to healthy, affordable, culturally relevant food year-round is a top priority for Virtua,” said Pullin. “Empowering people to eat well is one of the best ways to help them be well, get well, and stay well – which is our mission.”
Indeed, Virtua’s innovative food-access programs aim to improve health through better nutrition, reduce diet-related chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, and fight food insecurity.
These efforts are even more essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has substantially increased food insecurity in our area. In Camden City, for example, 40% to 50% of households don’t have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. And an estimated 15% of Camden County residents and 12% of Burlington County residents don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to Feeding America.
“More people than ever don’t have enough food right now, so Virtua will continue to expand our ‘Eat Well’ programs to help as many of our neighbors as possible,” added Pullin.
To learn more, please visit https://www.virtua.org/about/eat-well.
About Virtua Health:
Virtua Health is committed to helping the people of South Jersey be well, get well, and stay well by providing the complete spectrum of advanced, accessible, and trusted health care services. Virtua's 14,000 colleagues provide tertiary care, including a renowned cardiology program, complemented by a community-based care portfolio. In addition to five hospitals, two satellite emergency departments, and more than 280 other locations, Virtua brings health services directly into communities through home health, rehabilitation, mobile screenings, and its paramedic program. Virtua has 2,850 affiliated doctors and other clinicians, and its specialties include orthopedics, advanced surgery, and maternity. Virtua is affiliated with Penn Medicine for cancer and neuroscience, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for pediatrics. As a not-for-profit, Virtua is committed to the well-being of the community and provides innovative outreach programs that address social challenges affecting health, from addiction and other behavioral issues to lack of nutritious food and stable housing. A Magnet-recognized health system ranked by U.S. News and World Report, Virtua has received many awards for quality, safety, and its outstanding work environment. For more information, visit Virtua.org. To help Virtua make a difference, visit GiveToVirtua.org.