Presence Health
Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center Awarded $400,000 Grant to Help SNAP Participants Afford Healthy Foods

The medical center is the only hospital in the U.S. to receive USDA funding.
The grant provides city residents nutrition education and improved food access.

(Chicago, IL) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (PSMEMC) has been awarded a $395,000, 3 year grant to fund a health-focused farmers market on its hospital campus. The funding was awarded through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program, administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). PSMEMC was the only hospital to receive funding from this USDA program, and is one of only a few health care providers to receive the competitive grant. PSMEMC will use the funds to provide financial incentives to purchase healthy fruits and vegetables among low-income individuals participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP). The “West Town Health Market” operates every Thursday from June to December, on the west lawn of the PSMEMC Campus. Community residents, patients and hospital associates are welcome to attend.

This is the second year of the West Town Health Market, in 2017 PSMEMC was awarded a smaller grant as part of the USDA NIFA pilot program.  During the pilot year, PSMEMC provided $62,700 in free and reduced cost fruit, vegetables, and protein to more than 2,500 residents on the west side of Chicago. The initiative was driven by PSMEMC’s 2016 – 2019 strategic plan of preventing and reducing chronic disease. According to recent reports, 1 in 3 residents within PSMEMC’s service area are classified as obese, and diabetes is among the top 5 causes of death.

In an effort to reduce food insecurity in Chicago, the grant funds 3 for 1 Fresh Fruit and Produce Coupons and Nutrition Prescriptions that SNAP participants can redeem at the health market. Food insecurity is a major contributing factor of negative health outcomes and is prevalent within PSMEMC’s service area. The West Town Health Market takes a collaborative approach in addressing food insecurity by partnering with eight  separate community-based organizations that will help with distributing the food coupons as well as providing market workforce training for residents.

“We are honored to again be receiving this unique and highly competitive grant. This funding from the USDA will allow us to expand upon our already successful pilot program to further impact the dietary habits of SNAP recipients and encourages them to consume more locally grown fruits and vegetables. As a healthcare institution we are committed to doing more for our patients who face significant social obstacles on their journey to a healthy lifestyle, this grant allows us to continue that work,” said PSMEMC Clinical Nutrition Manager and Health Market Manager Nick Groch. “One’s income or zip code should never serve as a barrier to obtaining nutritious and affordable food.”


The West Town Health Market takes place every Thursday from 3-7 pm on the corner of Division St. and Oakley Blvd, on the Presence Saint Mary Campus.  For more information about the Health Market, visit:

To read the full USDA announcement:


About Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center

Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center is a premier two-campus medical center on Chicago's near northwest side and part of AMITA Health. Certified as a Primary Stroke Center and accredited as a Chest Pain Center, the hospital was recognized in 2017 as one of only three Top Teaching Hospitals in Illinois by the Leapfrog Group.  The medical center specializes in behavioral health, cancer care, cardiac care, digestive diseases, neurosciences, obstetrics, midwifery, emergency services, and primary care.

About AMITA Health
AMITA Health ( is a joint operating company formed by the Adventist Health System in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and St. Louis-based Ascension. With the addition of Presence Health, AMITA Health is now the largest health system in Illinois, comprising 19 hospitals and more than 230 sites of care. The newly combined health system has 900 providers in its medical groups, more than 26,000 associates and 7,000 physician partners, and now serves over 4.3 million residents in the greater Chicagoland area.

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