Kaiser Permanente Grants Support Access to Healthy Food in the Central Valley 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 has awarded $95,000 grants to two organizations serving the Central Valley.
The Center for Human Services (CHS) in Modesto will use the funding to provide a program specialist at each of four outreach sites, reaching at least 2,200 individuals with enrollment assistance and food distribution (onsite or virtually). CHS will also implement 12 CalFresh pop-up events that include meal and produce distribution, nutrition information, and assistance with CalFresh enrollment. The Center for Human Services has Family Resource Centers in Newman, Patterson, Oakdale and Ceres.
“This funding will increase our capacity to provide access to CalFresh food benefits, emergency food and other concrete support for vulnerable community members,” said Lori Schumacher, program director for the Center for Human Services. “Family Resource Centers are one of our agency’s key strategies for strengthening communities and supporting members health, well-being and positive life conditions.”
Catholic Charities (CC) of the Diocese of Stockton also received a grant and will use it to provide CalFresh application and retention services to all low-income households throughout San Joaquin County, especially those who have been impacted by COVID 19. CC will prescreen 8,000 individuals for CalFresh eligibility, and help an estimated 2,000 people complete CalFresh applications and also provide retention assistance to 1,500 individuals to ensure they continue accessing their CalFresh benefits. The funding will also support staff training and community education. The overall goal is to help reduce food insecurity.
“We are really very grateful for the partnership with Kaiser Permanente which makes it possible for Catholic Charities to be available to families in need during these critical times,” said Elvira Ramirez, executive director for the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton. She added that she has heard from several clients who were grateful to receive assistance from the comfort of their homes during the pandemic.
“Nutritious food is critical to total health,” said Sanjay Marwaha, MD, physician in chief for Kaiser Permanente in the Central Valley. “We want to help bridge the gap for those who are most vulnerable, and others affected by the pandemic.”
“Collaboration is key as we work to help improve the health of our community during this challenging time,” said Corwin Harper, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Central Valley. “We are proud to provide resources to organizations that are doing such incredible work to serve those in need.”