PASADENA, Calif. — Hoping to kick off the season of giving in a more abundant way, Kaiser Permanente is announcing the donation of $930,000 in grants to Southern California food banks through its new Healthy Food Banking program. But these donations go beyond the festive Thanksgiving turkeys. Kaiser Permanente wants to help these agencies ensure their patrons have access to healthy, nourishing foods.
Eating a diet packed with fresh fruits and vegetables is the key to good health, yet it can be challenging for food banks to provide these choices to their clients. Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Food Banking program focuses on providing grants that help food banks establish policies and practices to increase the donations and purchases of healthy foods instead of the less-good-for-you snacks, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.
“There is a strong link between healthy food and a healthy mind and body,” said Roberta Tinajero, community benefit manager for Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Healthy Eating, Active Living Program. “Providing our children and families in need with healthy food options is critical to their good health — and ultimately leads to healthier communities.”
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, considered to be one of the largest food banks in the United States, is one of this year’s grant recipients. “The Food Bank’s goal is to not only provide healthy food to people in Los Angeles County, but to also encourage healthy eating,” said Los Angeles Regional Food Bank CEO Michael Flood. “The grant from Kaiser Permanente will allow the Food Bank to adopt a nutrition policy, increase access to nutritious food for adults and children through CalFresh benefits, and provide nutrition education for children and families.”
Grants totaling $630,000 were given to nine Southern California food banks to develop and implement their own internal policies focused on healthy food banking, as well as to purchase, transport and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables, increase education about healthy eating and support CalFresh outreach and enrollment. An additional $300,000 in grants was given to two agencies that will provide technical assistance and evaluation to food banks that are developing these new practices.
The state’s food-stamp program, CalFresh, has been affected by cuts to the federal Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program. This has the potential to drive even more people in need to food banks, making the availability of fresh and nutritious food even more important.
The grant recipients are:
- Community Action Partnership of Kern: Kern County, $60,000
- Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County: Fontana, $40,000
- Feeding America San Diego: San Diego $80,000
- FIND Food Bank, Food In Need of Distribution, Inc.: Riverside, Coachella Valley, $60,000
- FOOD Share, Inc. Woodland Hills and Ventura County, $60,000
- Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank: San Diego, $80,000
- Los Angeles Regional Food Bank: Los Angeles, $95,000
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County: Irvine, $95,000
- Westside Food Bank: Santa Monica, $60,000
Technical Assistance & Evaluation Agencies
- MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Southern CA., $150,000
- Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California, Berkeley $150,000
The Healthy Food Banking program seeks to ensure that food-bank and pantry patrons are able to obtain healthy foods, and that low-income families are educated about the importance of a healthy diet. It is an extension of Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating Active Living program, which recognizes the need to support proper nutrition given the growing obesity epidemic in the United States.
About Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is a non-profit, charitable organization established in 1973 and is one of the largest food banks in the United States. Through a network of 670 charitable agencies providing service from more than 1,000 agency and program sites, the Food Bank supplies enough food for 833,000 meals each week throughout Los Angeles County. For more information, visit www.lafoodbank.org.
About Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Program
Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit program is committed to improving the health of the communities we serve and reducing health disparities through community partnerships with the safety net of community clinics, public health departments, public hospitals, and other agencies. Community Benefit also helps increase access to quality health care and coverage, regardless of income, through our charity care and charitable coverage programs; supports community groups to inspire people to make positive changes for health through our Healthy Eating Active Living programs and Community Health Initiatives; and shares our medical knowledge, expertise and research to help Southern California people live healthier lives. For more info, visit Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit.
About Kaiser Permanente Southern California
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, our mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 3.6 million members in Southern California. 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.