OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 22 -- With hunger in America reaching its highest level in 14 years, Kaiser Permanente has quadrupled
In 2009, Kaiser Permanente approved $2.1 million in grants and donations to nonprofit organizations that provide access to healthy foods at food banks and pantries, and that help boost participation in federal nutrition programs. The health care organization's grants in this area are up from $430,000 in 2008 and $480,000 in 2007.
"When family budgets are tight, people often struggle to put healthy food on their tables," said Raymond J. Baxter PhD, senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy, Kaiser Permanente. "We are making investments in short- and long-term strategies to help our members and communities make it through this recession healthy."
Kaiser Permanente is at the forefront of national efforts to ensure access to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. The organization is funding local programs from Hawaii to Washington, D.C., to ease the struggle that many Americans face as they work to put food on the table. Examples include:
Kaiser Permanente also is funding innovative programs designed to increase participation in government supported food programs, including school meal and food stamp programs, and to bring healthier food to participants in those programs. Examples include:
"Lack of access to healthy foods among low-income populations – seniors, children, working adults struggling in the recession and others – poses a significant risk to our communities' health," says James D. Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center. "At a time when much philanthropic giving has been scaled back, it is great to see Kaiser Permanente expanding its commitment to these critical programs. This will make a real difference in a lot of places."
The $2.1 million investment in Healthy Eating in Hard Times is one piece of Kaiser Permanente's more than $1 billion annual commitment to improve the health of the communities it serves.
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, 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 8.6 million members in nine 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: www.kp.org/newscenter.
SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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