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New program will bring free grocery delivery service to some Louisville families

The image shows a row of fresh produce, including apples and oranges, at a grocery store.
Some Louisville families will be able to get one year of free grocery delivery service through a new pilot program that aims to address food insecurity.

Families in Louisville Metro Government’s Healthy Start initiative can get groceries delivered to their home for free, thanks to a new pilot program that starts in January.

The Healthy Start program currently serves around 225 local families. People are eligible for Healthy Start if they’re pregnant or have a child under 18 months old and live in one of five Louisville ZIP codes: 40203, 40208, 40210, 40211 and 40212.

“This is all geared towards reducing the unfortunate infant mortality and maternal mortality rates that we have in Kentucky, particularly Jefferson County,” said Connie Mendel, interim chief health strategist at the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “Part of healthy pregnancies is having healthy food available for the moms and the family.”

That’s where Healthy Start’s new pilot program comes in.

It will offer one year of free grocery delivery service through Kroger to participating families.

Mendel said limited transportation can make it hard for families to buy groceries.

“They may not have their own personal vehicles and they may also reside in areas, unfortunately, where there are very few opportunities to purchase healthy and nutritious foods,” she said. “They may be using public transportation. They may be walking for groceries. So this is an opportunity to have those healthy foods delivered at their doorstep.”

The families will cover the cost of the groceries and can use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits when ordering them.

The Humana Foundation supplied a $144,500 grant to support the initiative.

Kroger spokeswoman Jessica Sharp said they’re honored to partner with the public health department and the Humana Foundation on this effort.

“We’re proud of our ability to kind of reach past the storefront with Kroger delivery and serve these families with fresh groceries right to their front door, especially those who need access the most,” she said.

The Healthy Start program assists families in west Louisville neighborhoods.

The West End lacks sufficient access to grocery stores. Meanwhile, Publix has three shops planned for east Louisville, and Kroger broke ground in October on another new east Louisville store.

Healthy Start families can start enrolling for free grocery delivery in January. People interested in joining the broader Healthy Start program can call 502-574-6661 or email healthystart@louisvilleky.gov.

Support for this story was provided in part by theJewish Heritage Fund.

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Morgan is LPM's health reporter. Email Morgan at mwatkins@lpm.org.