WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States and DC Central Kitchen have been selected as one of three winners in the Healthy Environment category of the inaugural Healthy10 Award, presented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. DC Central Kitchen, a DC-based nonprofit that develops social ventures to fight hunger and poverty, and Kaiser Permanente, the region’s largest non-profit health care provider, have been partnering for years to bring healthier food to all residents of the District.
The Healthy10 Awards are part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Means Business Campaign, which recognizes cross-sector collaboration between American businesses and their partners, who together strive to improve community wellness through greater economic opportunity.
The award for Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States and DC Central Kitchen recognizes their joint work on Healthy Corners, a pioneering venture that is sustainably expanding healthy food access in DC’s food deserts. DC Central Kitchen delivers fresh produce and healthy snacks to corner stores in DC’s low-income communities, offering them produce at wholesale prices and in smaller quantities than a conventional distributor. The stores then sell the produce at below-market prices, making it an affordable option for the consumer. Instead of just giving away food, this innovative program has demonstrated significant demand in low-income communities for fresh, affordable food options in corner stores.
Initially launched in 2011 with financial and technical support from Kaiser Permanente, Healthy Corners exists to create more equitable access to healthy and local food options for residents of Wards 5, 7 and 8 — the District of Columbia’s three identified “food deserts” — and to develop and enhance new best practices for promoting healthy behaviors among at-risk children and families. Kaiser Permanente also helped DC Central Kitchen forge critical partnerships with the government of the District of Columbia to fully leverage existing policies promoting public health and small business development in support of Healthy Corners. Since that time, DC Central Kitchen and Kaiser Permanente have partnered together to develop and scale this innovative approach in underserved food-desert communities through the Healthy Corners program.
“We are so grateful to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for this Healthy10 Award, and for the incredible partnership of Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States,” said DC Central Kitchen CEO Mike Curtin, Jr. “Since launching Healthy Corners in 2011, our partnership with Kaiser Permanente has helped more than 70 small businesses stock and sell healthy food, while engaging consumers to increase demand in low-income neighborhoods. This award reinforces our shared commitment to addressing the underlying social determinants of health by bringing healthy food access and knowledge to the communities that need it most.”
“This award is particularly meaningful for us at Kaiser Permanente because it recognizes the commitment we share with DC Central Kitchen to improving the health of the communities we serve,” said Maritha Gay, executive director of External Affairs and Community Benefit for Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. “We thank DC Central Kitchen for being outstanding partners in total health, and we thank the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for recognizing this effort to bring healthy food to underserved communities.”
Unlike some charitable solutions to improve healthy food access, Healthy Corners isn’t a giveaway. Rather than hand-outs of free food, the program puts healthy, local food for sale in underserved neighborhoods, and through relevant outreach and marketing, empowers residents to eat and shop in healthier ways where they live, learn and play.
About DC Central Kitchen
DC Central Kitchen is a nonprofit developer of innovative social ventures that break the cycle of hunger and poverty. Founded in 1989 in protest of traditional charity models, the organization uses career training, job creation, and sustainable business practices to strengthen local food systems and reduce disparities in health and economic opportunity. The Kitchen’s life-changing social ventures include providing culinary job training to at-risk adults, turning wasted food into balanced meals for shelters and nonprofits, and serving healthy, scratch-cooked meals in low-income schools. These efforts have been recognized with the leading national award for healthy school food innovation, The Golden Carrot; the Washington Business Journal’s Green Business Award for Innovation; and the DC Chamber of Commerce’s Community Impact Award. To learn more, visit www.dccentralkitchen.org or follow @dcck on Twitter.
About Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States
Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States region, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, provides and coordinates complete health care services for more than 690,000 members through 29 medical centers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1980, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is a total health organization comprising Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., and the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C., an independent medical group that features more than 1,300 physicians. Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is the only Private plan available through employer-sponsored health coverage in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia — and one of only 13 Private health plans available nationwide — to earn a 5 out of 5 rating from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2016–2017. In addition, Kaiser Permanente has the No. 1 Medicare plan in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. For more information about Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, visit kp.org or follow us on Twitter, twitter.com/KPMidAtlantic, or Facebook, www.facebook.com/kpthrive.