LOUISVILLE, Ky. and TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Hunger isn't just a developing-world problem. In Kentucky, more than 21 percent of children live in food-insecure households. To help reduce food insecurity and support sustainable communities, WellCare of Kentucky, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), donated $2,400 to Louisville Grows, an urban agriculture and education nonprofit, to support its urban farming outreach efforts.
Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a lack of access to enough food to enable all household members to lead an active, healthy life.
"Food insecurity is associated with some of the country's most costly health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and depression," said Dr. Howard Shaps, medical director for WellCare of Kentucky. "Children experiencing hunger are more likely to experience lower physical functioning, more frequent mental health problems and poorer health."
Louisville Grows will use WellCare's contribution to support its Seeds and Starts program with seed displays and packets at 10 stores located in Louisville neighborhoods with high concentrations of food insecure families and to provide 12 sponsorships for the nonprofit's Urban Grower education series.
"WellCare's donation has enabled Louisville Grows to partner with stores in food insecure areas to promote the use of electronic benefit transfer/ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase food-producing seeds and plants," said Valerie Magnuson, executive director for Louisville Grows.
SNAP is the nation's most important anti-hunger program, helping more than 45 million low-income Americans afford a nutritionally adequate diet in a typical month. In addition to purchasing food, SNAP benefits can be used to buy food-producing plants or seeds.
To participate in Louisville Grows' Seeds and Starts program, store owners agreed to sell seed packets at $0.50 each, display signage promoting SNAP Gardens and encourage customers to "grow their food stamps." Participating stores include: Curtis Market, Farm Boy Food Mart, Happy Market, Parkway Food Market, Pic Pac (Hazelwood and Portland locations), Save-A-Lot (Portland), Shawnee Market, Webb's Market and Dollar General (Portland).
Environmental education is central to Louisville Grows' mission. Its Urban Grower program trains community members in the art, science and business of providing food in a city environment. The hands-on training helps build participants' knowledge and understanding of naturally grown farming principles and practices.
For more information on Louisville Grows, visit www.louisvillegrows.org.
As of June 30, 2016, WellCare serves approximately 445,000 Medicaid members, 8,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 20,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Kentucky. To learn more about how we care for Kentuckians, watch Brandi's story at http://youtu.be/YwOw5EgeSYo.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of June 30, 2016. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
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SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.