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Kaiser Permanente Bolsters Access to Healthy, Nutritious Food in Hard Times
Date:12/22/2009

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- With hunger in America reaching its highest level in 14 years, Kaiser Permanente has quadrupled the amount it invests in programs to promote healthy eating during difficult economic times.

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:

  • Maui Food Bank, which is using $50,000 for its "Fresh-4-All" program that provides fresh, locally grown food for the indigent, homeless and at-risk island population. People with diabetes will receive priority for the produce.
  • Loaves and Fishes, Portland, Ore., which is using $60,000 to purchase fruits and vegetables for meals for seniors in Multnomah, Washington, and Clark counties in Oregon and Washington.
  • California Association of Food Banks, which will use $200,000 to help its networks of food banks improve the nutritional quality of food distributed through food banks and pantries. For example, it will help connect food banks to local farmers, and it will help food
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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