FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)– An apple a day keeps the doctors away, and that’s what Parkview Health’s Veggie RX to HEAL program aims to do.

With a focus on supporting low-income communities in Allen County, Parkview’s Veggie Rx to HEAL program distributes fresh produce and nutrition instruction to adults who are recognized as at-risk for food insecurity and chronic health issues such as prediabetes, diabetes, heart illness, or an at-risk pregnancy.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided Parkview Health with a grant of $466,373 to expand the Veggie RX to HEAL program.

With the USDA grant, Veggie Rx will be able to serve an additional 850 people over the following three years, with a goal of enrolling 250 people in 2022. The program will be extended from three to six months, with the next session beginning in May.

“Veggie Rx allows healthcare providers to literally prescribe fresh produce and dispense a tangible, healthy food incentive to their health-marginalized patients,” said Michelle Bojrab-Wray, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, lead community outreach dietitian, Parkview Health. “We have seen tremendous results from this program, including improved blood pressure and healthy behavior changes. More importantly, we’re making nutritious food available to more people, which creates a positive impact on the health and well-being of our entire community.”

Those interested in enrolling in the Veggie RX to HEAL program can do so by talking to their healthcare provider. Referrals for the program begin May 1st.