Mayor Rawlings-Blake, ShopRite Relaunch Virtual Supermarket Program, First of its Kind in the Nation

IMAGE: Mayor Rawlings-Blake announces the relaunch of the Virtual Supermarket

Mayor Rawlings-Blake, ShopRite Relaunch Virtual Supermarket Program, First of its Kind in the Nation

City Unveils New Healthy Food Website, Baltimarket.org

BALTIMORE, Md. (July 30, 2014)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Interim Health Commissioner Dr. Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey joined with new partner ShopRite of Glen Burnie, to announce the relaunch of Baltimore City's Virtual Supermarket program—a nationally award-winning program that increases food access in neighborhoods designated as food deserts by providing online ordering and delivery options. Officials also announced the new Baltimarket.org website, which will connect families facing food access challenges with healthy options.

"For many low-income Baltimore City residents, gaining access to quality, nutritious food can be a challenge," said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. "I remain committed to strengthening our communities by increasing food access for all residents. This collaboration with ShopRite on the Virtual Supermarket program will provide families with convenient, healthy, and affordable food options."

The Virtual Supermarket program—the flagship component of Baltimarket, the Baltimore City Health Department's suite of community-based food access and food justice programs—enables residents to place grocery orders from any computer with internet access, and pick up the order at a designated community site at no delivery cost. Residents can pay for groceries using cash, credit, debit, or EBT/SNAP. The Virtual Supermarket is the first community-based program in the country to accept EBT/SNAP for online grocery ordering and delivery.

"Health outcomes are a driving factor behind understanding food access disparities in Baltimore City. The health disparities in Baltimore City neighborhoods are being fueled by disparities in lack of access to healthy, affordable foods," said Dr. Duval-Harvey. "The food environment for many Baltimore City residents is a barrier to health, with many inexpensive, unhealthy options and few affordable, healthy options. The Virtual Supermarket program aims to change that dynamic and provide healthier and more cost-effective options for Baltimore residents."

The new Baltimarket.org website is a portal for healthy food access in Baltimore City, providing information about supermarkets, farmers markets, public markets, urban farms, community gardens, cooking classes, and more. Baltimarket aims to improve the health and wellness of Baltimore City residents, using food access and food justice as strategies for community transformation.

In the Cherry Hill community, the Virtual Supermarket program will operate ordering and delivery sites at the Cherry Hill Senior Manor and the Cherry Hill Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Orders can be placed at the Cherry Hill Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library between 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm on Tuesdays and picked up between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm on Wednesdays. Residents of Senior Manor can place their orders with Neighborhood Food Advocates on Mondays and get their orders delivered on Wednesdays. The Virtual Supermarket program aims to expand to provide additional sites in Baltimore City's food deserts.

"Since opening the ShopRite of Glen Burnie in 2010, my family and I have been committed to serving the community by providing fresh food at great prices," said Larry Collins, Jr., president of the ShopRite of Glen Burnie, a family business. "We are excited to extend this service to our Cherry Hill neighbors through the Virtual Supermarket program. Customers placing online orders will receive all the weekly sales and traditional low prices that ShopRite is known for and each order will be personally selected by our team of associates. We are proud to join the Baltimarket program in its mission to provide fresh, healthy food to all."

The Virtual Supermarket is made possible through the support of the United Way of Central Maryland and the Walmart Foundation. The Baltimarket.org website is made possible through the support of the Delmarva Foundation. For more information, visit www.baltimarket.org.

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