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Changing the Way Philly Eats


Photo credit: Nell Hoving

Growing up in West Philadelphia, Go Red co-chair Chinwe Onyekere and her family would have to leave their neighborhood to go find fresh fruits and vegetables. When she attended college in New York, she continued to struggle to find healthy food at the local corner stores.

“I also remember very clearly, I could only purchase what I could carry in my backpack, she says. “I would think, ‘How does a mom of four do this?’”

In her role as system director for health and graduate medical education for Main Line Health, she keeps that experience in mind when developing community programs. The Deaver Wellness Farm, a half acre farm on Main Line Health’s campus, has produced more than 13,000 pounds of food for patients, many of whom live in West Philly, while the Together for West Philadelphia collaborative brings together more than 30 nonprofits and universities to improve health in the region.

She hasn’t forgotten her corner store experience, either, working with the Food Trust to provide more than 500 corner stores in Philly with access to fresh food. Each store also hosts health educators, who screen customers for their blood pressure and BMI and offer food preparation demonstrations and four dollars worth of healthy food.

In her career and as co-chair of Go Red, Onyekere emphasizes working with overlooked groups at risk of illnesses related to poor nutrition. “I think that’s the future of Go Red,” Onyekere says. “Not trying to reinvent the wheel, but breaking down silos and focusing on collaboration in support of shared values.”

For more information on ways you can Go Red this year, visit phillymag.com/gored.