La Red launches produce prescription program

Organizers seek funding to continue into summer
February 19, 2024

La Red Health Center is partnering with Dittmar Family Farms in Felton to offer organic produce for its pediatric patients.

The produce prescription program aims to get nutritious, whole foods into the hands of patients who need them most: the food insecure and those most at risk for obesity.

La Red Health Center has just under 14,000 patients who are served at its offices in Milford, Georgetown and Seaford. Approximately 99% of La Red’s patients live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and in school districts that have been identified as having some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state.

La Red, through a $15,000 Advancing Healthy Lifestyles grant from the Delaware Division of Public Health, was able to purchase winter community agriculture shares from Dittmar Farms to offer its pediatric patients.

La Red started a small pilot program in December with 10 families to test the program logistics. La Red’s Community Healthy Outreach staff identified and delivered fresh produce to specific families at their homes for seven weeks.

When the pilot program ended in January, La Red decided to move it to the pediatric department, where pediatricians work directly with patients and can make assessments in real time to offer produce prescriptions to families most in need.

The program has been expanded to serve 20 pediatric patients at La Red offices in Milford, Georgetown and Seaford. Dittmar Family Farms in Felton delivers produce bags containing carrots, apples, leeks and greens each Monday, and La Red’s pediatricians are able to offer patients healthy foods to take home during the week. The produce is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

During the first week, the bags also contained copies of the book, “Boxes of Love/CaJas De Amor,” written by local author Jennifer Antonik and translated into Spanish by La Red board member Rony Baltazar-Lopez.

“La Red is invested in our community’s health and believes good health starts with providing children with healthy foods that can reduce hunger and prevent disease,” said Rachel Hersh, La Red deputy director. “We are grateful for the AHL funding that made this program possible. We also love that we get to support our local farmers at the same time.”

The produce prescription program will continue through Friday, May 31, when La Red’s grant funding expires. However, La Red team members are seeking additional funding and community partnerships that will allow the program to continue and expand for its pediatric patients during the summer months when they lose access to free and reduced meals at school.

La Red Health Center, a federally qualified health center in Sussex County, has provided quality healthcare for individuals and families since 2001. La Red is committed to ensuring the highest level of care for all individuals and families. La Red offers primary healthcare, pediatrics, women’s health services and behavioral health services at its three locations in Milford, Seaford and Georgetown. La Red also offers dental services at its Milford and Georgetown locations. For more information, go to


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