JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Amerigroup made a $25,000 donation to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) to help establish the state’s first Food Rx program for children at Children’s of Mississippi.

Through the partnership with Mississippi Food Network, Children’s of Mississippi pediatricians and specialists will screen for food insecurity and prescribe fresh, nutritious foods that have been proven to improve children’s development, mental health, educational performance and long-term health outcomes.

Food prescriptions will then be picked up from the UMMC EversCare food pantry, which is housed at the Jackson Medical Mall.

“Food insecurity is the most commonly reported unmet social need in the U.S. that impacts more than 42 million people and over 13 million children across our nation,” said Tara Clark, who leads Amerigroup Mississippi. “Here in our home state of Mississippi, we have one of the worst hunger problems in America with almost one in four Mississippians not having enough to eat. Just in Jackson alone, 29 percent of children are food insecure. This puts their futures at risk, and that’s why we are grateful to Mississippi Food Network, UMMC and Children’s of Mississippi clinicians for joining us to launch the state’s first pediatric Food Rx program to improve health and lives.”

The new pediatric food pharmacy will be located in the Jackson Medical Mall and will operate in tandem with the current EversCare food pantry.