Franciscan Health Michigan City is offering a new Produce Prescription Program aimed at assisting with chronic disease management.

Upon successful completion of the free, four-week program, participants will receive produce vouchers for fresh fruit every month for six months.

The Produce Prescription Program originated in Franciscan Alliance’s Lake County Fresh Start Market healthy food pantries, which allow those in need to shop free of charge. The Produce Prescription Program later expanded to locations in Central Indiana and is now available in Michigan City.

The expansion into Michigan City was made possible by an Indiana Department of Health Together We Will grant.

Franciscan Health Michigan City previously offered a Diabetes Food Prescription program aimed solely at assisting patients with diabetes. This new program focuses on management of all chronic diseases, including but not limited to obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

“Our focus is whole person care,” Franciscan Alliance Community Health Improvement Director Danielle Crowder said. “When you think about chronic disease management, the challenges are often the result of many other social factors. Management of chronic diseases can be exacerbated by living in a food desert, not being able to afford quality fruits and vegetables, a lack of transportation and personal mobility issues.”

Participants need not be patients within the Franciscan Health system to participate. Participants must have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, have moderate to high food insecurity as determined by a screening process and complete a four-week Cooking Matters course.

The course is presented through a formal relationship between Franciscan Health and the Indy Hunger Network, which provides certification for Franciscan staff to teach it to participants.

The program will meet for four weeks on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Central beginning July 9 and concluding July 30.

To register and for more information, contact Selena Tinoco at or call (219) 221-4153.

The Produce Prescription Program is made possible in part through donations to the Franciscan Health Foundation’s Food Insecurity Fund. For more information or to make a donation, go online or call (219) 661-3401.