Children's Hospital of Philadelphia launches first pediatric food pharmacy

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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia launches first pediatric food pharmacy: Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 4pm on January 23, 2019.

We know kids who go hungry can face a slew of medical problems and struggle to learn and grow in school. That's why Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has launched the first pediatric "food pharmacy."

It's the grand opening of a special food pantry. The Healthy Weight Program at Children's Hospital is now helping some kids and their families find access to healthy food.

Director of the new food pharmacy, Dr. Saba Kahn, says millions of kids face food insecurity. It leads to poor health and problems learning and it can happen to any family.

"Hunger doesn't have a face, an age, a gender, a race," she said.

Brooke Belle is a mother of four struggling to make ends meet after life threw some unexpected hardships.

"I went to school, I went to Chestnut Hill. I majored in biology and psychology and then my husband got cancer, so we pretty much lost everything," she recalled.

Belle's family was referred to the food pharmacy. They picked up a three day supply of healthy foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, brown rice and beans.

Then, Dr. Kahn says families are given resources and a plan to continue healthy eating.

"It's our way of saying, we're not just here for today but we're here for the long haul, the long journey," she said.

Now, creating healthy meals is a family affair for Belle with her son Michael and daughter Dallas pitching in.

"My favorite healthy foods are carrots, broccoli, and strawberries and grapes," said Dallas.

The food pharmacy was created thanks to a donation from Giant Food Stores.

Philabundance also helps keep the shelves stocked.

For more information on CHOP's food pantry and Healthy Weight Program, CLICK HERE.

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