Blog NKCDC NKCDC receives $400,000 to create new green space in Kensington

Six Philly food organizations land $1.8 million from Rite Aid Healthy Futures

NKCDC is excited to announce that it will receive $400,000 from Rite Aid Healthy Futures to support its Public Green Space Initiative. The initiative will build, maintain and program new garden spaces designed to improve health outcomes of children and families and increase sustainable land sovereignty and food production in the area.

“By increasing food access, nutrition education and access to critical resources, this project will result in improved health for hundreds of young people, families and our neighborhood at large,” said Bill McKinney, Executive Director at NKCDC. “Additionally, it’s another opportunity to collaborate with violence-reduction programs to create safe passages in a neighborhood that has seen more violence than any other part of the city,” McKinney said.

Reducing health disparities

Rite Aid Healthy Futures is committing more than $1.82 million to leading Philadelphia food access programs through its new Strengthening Cities signature initiative, designed to reduce health disparities for children and youth living within city neighborhoods. Other Philadelphia recipients include Bartram’s Garden, The Food Trust, Philabundance, Urban Creators, and Urban Tree Connection.

Part of a larger $10 million, two-year commitment focused on Baltimore and five other cities, the funding aims to advance food equity and food sovereignty. It will support community farm programs, food distribution and more in Philadelphia, where up to half of the residents of some neighborhoods can find themselves more than half a mile from a grocery, compared to just 1 percent of Center City residents.

“Racial inequities and health disparities across big cities and small towns in the U.S. continue to profoundly affect the lives and futures of tens of millions of Americans every day. Zip codes have unparalleled consequences for one’s life opportunities and long-term outlook,” said Matt DeCamara, Executive Director of Rite Aid Healthy Futures.

“The Strengthening Cities initiative will confront the harsh realities of poverty and hunger while impacting many lives and futures. We cannot achieve racial equity if we do not also achieve health equity for all Americans,” he said.

Green space is good for health

For NKCDC, the initiative joins a growing group of health and wellness programs, including Nourish, SNAP-Ed, and Community Health Workers.

  • Nourish is an eight-week nutrition education and meal kit delivery program.
  • SNAP-Ed teaches people how to make their food money stretch, how to shop for and cook healthy meals, and how to stay physically active. 
  • Community Health Workers bridge the gap between health care providers and patients, connecting residents to healthy food, housing, employment, transportation, child care, and other resources that have a profound impact on health.

Kensington ranked last of 46 Philadelphia neighborhoods in health factors and health outcomes, according to a 2019 study by the City of Philadelphia and Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. Men living in Kensington can expect to die 18 years earlier than men living six El stops away in Center City.

Improving environmental factors, including access to healthy food, green space, and safe outdoor activities, improves mental and physical health. Trees and gardens physically cool urban neighborhoods, reducing mortality rates during heat waves. Gardens also can make significant reductions in violent crime, including gun violence.

NKCDC advances social equity & economic empowerment by nurturing and creating opportunities for residents to live in, and actively shape, their neighborhoods of choice.

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