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Kaiser Permanente Grants Support Access To Healthy Food During Covid-19 Pandemic

Kaiser Permanente is supporting local nonprofits as they seek innovative ways to enroll eligible households in CalFresh, California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program has seen a surge in applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to ensure people have access to and can afford nutritious food, so they can stay healthy.

Kaiser Permanente is awarding $95,000 to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano (FBCCS). FBCCS will pilot new outreach and education strategies to adapt its CalFresh outreach program during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic and resulting economic crisis. Funding will support new applicants in obtaining benefits. It will also support a digital outreach campaign. In addition, FBCCS will host virtual trainings for community partner and government organizations on eligibility and enrollment.

Since 2017, Kaiser Permanente has supported the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano’s efforts to enroll thousands of eligible individuals in CalFresh.

“Kaiser Permanente recognizes the critical role public assistance programs can play in helping struggling families put food on the table,” said Nora Nicholson, Program Director at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. “The Food Bank is proud to partner with Kaiser Permanente as we work to help our community move forward in a time of dramatically increased need.”

This is one of 18 grants Kaiser Permanente is awarding to food banks, community clinics, and family resource centers in Northern California to increase enrollment in CalFresh, with an emphasis on outreach to underserved communities. CalFresh helps low-income individuals, families, and households to purchase nutritious food, providing up to $204 a month per household member in food benefits.

“Access to healthy food is a basic human need, and one that affects overall health,” said Nor Jemjemian, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente Napa Solano. “We recognize that support for food banks and their work to enroll more families in CalFresh is critical right now, and we hope this helps alleviate some of the need in our community.”

CalFresh applications have quadrupled and 98% of food banks have reported a jump in demand for food assistance since the state implemented COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. In response to the rising demand for food assistance, Kaiser Permanente has awarded additional grants, including:

• $200,000 to California Association of Food Banks to secure state funding for emergency food disaster assistance, distribute 175 million pounds of fresh produce and proteins through the Farm to Family program and increase the CalFresh enrollment rate statewide from 72% to 75% by the end of 2021.

• $100,000 to California WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Association to share and support the adoption of innovative practices to ensure WIC benefits are provided to eligible families throughout California.

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