Kaiser Permanente Awards $1.2 Million to Help Expand Access to Healthy Food

Grants will help hungry families weather the holiday season

Press Release
apples in plastic bins

OAKLAND, Calif. — As part of its ongoing commitment to improve community health and support healthy eating and active living, Kaiser Permanente recently announced $1.2 million in grants to support a range of organizations and programs that will increase access to healthy food, provide nutrition education and develop healthy food policies that will benefit an estimated 14.5 million people.

The grants were awarded to a total of 10 organizations, including nine community based nonprofits in northern California that will focus on meeting the immediate needs of hungry families through food banks, farmers markets and food subsidy programs such as CalFresh, as well as those focused on longer term changes in public policy. Grants also focus on implementing “food as medicine” programs in organizations serving low-income people.

“A lack of access to healthy, affordable health food is directly associated with poor physical and mental health outcomes, including chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes,” said Yvette Radford, vice president, Kaiser Permanente northern California External and Community Affairs. “These investments are part of our core belief that all people deserve a chance to fulfill their total health — mind, body and spirit.”

California produces nearly half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, but with eight million of the state’s residents living in poverty, food insecurity a serious issue. In northern California alone, there are 1.1 million households where an adult struggles to afford enough food, with the highest rates of food insecurity ranging from 28 percent in Solano to 52 in Fresno.

farm truck carrying cabbages and bags of grapefruit“Fresh fruits and vegetables are often difficult for low income families to afford,” says Sue Sigler, executive director of the California Association of Food Banks. “With help from Kaiser Permanente, California food banks are distributing over 150 million pounds of surplus fresh produce every year to people in need. From farm to food bank to table, we’re helping everyone to benefit from California’s nutritious bounty. Kids and seniors alike love receiving oranges, apples, carrots and much more.”

Among the grant recipients are:

California Association of Food Banks, based in Oakland, will use its grant to expand its Farm to Family program, which reaches over 2 million low income households annually, and also work to increase participation in CalFresh (food stamps).

Code for America, headquartered in San Francisco, will use its grant to expand the availability of its GetCalFresh digital platform to make it easier for more than 868,000 people to enroll in CalFresh.

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, based in Oakland, will support the ALL IN Alameda County initiative to develop and pilot a “Food as Medicine” system and pilot it with 100 patients of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of Oakland and their families.

Cal Fresh Logo“For more than a decade we’ve made investments like these because we recognize that communities can thrive only if all people have an equal chance at having good health,” said Radford.

The complete list of grantees includes:

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10.6 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.