QUEENS — Here's something to chew on.
A Forest Hills pharmacy is trying to improve local childrens’ health by giving out free chewable vitamins.
Austin Pharmacy, at 67-01 Austin St., launched its Kids Vitamin Program earlier this month, hoping to help parents who can’t afford such nutritional suppliments, said Nina Shamayeva, the owner of the pharmacy.
“A lot of people cannot afford to buy vitamins for their kids,” she said.
Shamayeva, 38, said lack of vitamins affects children’s immune system and the pharmacy wants to prevent such illnesses.
There is no income requirement, Shamayeva said, but most people who ask for children's vitamins are usually low-income families that don’t have health insurance, she added.
At the pharmacy, parents can get chewable multivitamins with our without iron. “I usually call their pediatricians and I ask them if it’s OK for me to give them vitamins and if the kids have an iron deficiency,” Shamayeva said.
The owenr of the Austin Pharmacy since 2005, Shamayeva said she gives out one vitamin bottle per child. Parents who sign up for the program can pick up a new bottle every month for a full year.
The retail value of an annual supply of childrens vitamins is $80, she said.
Children, 12-years-old and under, whose doctors recommend that they take a vitamin supplement, are eligible, she said.
It's not the first time the pharmacy launched a program aimed to help those in need. Last month, it also held a food drive for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.