BANGOR- Eating healthy can be a challenge but St. Joseph Healthcare is trying to make it easier.
“In the state of Maine, chronic conditions and chronic diseases are the number one cause of death and disability,” Jessica Taylor, manager of outpatient care managers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, said.
Chronic illness presents many problems, but even more so for those who can’t afford healthy foods.
“If the patient has a chronic disease, they will be referred to the care managers,” Taylor said. “We will provide support and education as well as prescriptions for fresh produce.”
The prescriptions can be filled up to four times and help those with SNAP benefits get extra assistance.
Medical professionals said it will improve the benefits they already have.
“They’re going to come to the farmers’ market on Sundays and whenever they make a SNAP purchase, they’ll get double their dollars anyways for their SNAP purchase, but we’ll give them more matching dollars on top of that,” explained Clayton Carter, the chairman of the Bangor Farmers’ Market
How much they receive in additional benefits will depend on family size.
St. Joseph’s has also partnered with the City of Bangor to offer on-site cooking classes.
The farmers’ markets the prescriptions can be used at are the Bangor Farmers’ Market, the Ohio Street Farmers’ Market, and the farmers’ markets in Hampden and Brewer.
The program will start on June 19.