Kaiser Permanente Colorado Provides $1 Million to Combat Food Insecurity

13 local nonprofits receive portion of grant to increase access to food for Coloradans

Mar 15, 2016, 10:00 ET from Kaiser Permanente Colorado

DENVER, March 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Each day, one in seven Coloradans face hunger. It's a serious issue that forces many to choose between putting food on the table and handling day-to-day expenses like paying the bills or purchasing necessary medication. Kaiser Permanente Colorado is reaffirming its commitment to diminishing the rates of hunger in this state by providing 13 local nonprofits a portion of a $1 million grant that aims to increase access to food for all Coloradans.

"Hunger is a far-reaching issue that affects hundreds of thousands of people in this state regardless of race, gender or zip code. We know first-hand how access to nutritious food is important to leading a healthy lifestyle," said Nancy Wollen, Kaiser Permanente Colorado interim president. "We're proud to work with these various local nonprofits to increase access to nutritional food for Coloradans in need."

The $1 million Kaiser Permanente food insecurity grant is designed to increase enrollment in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and increase access to nutritious food for low-income children during the summer months through the Summer Food Service Programs.

"Food is medicine. Without adequate nutrition, children and adults experience poorer health outcomes and higher health care costs," said Margaret Ferguson, MD, Colorado Permanente Medical Group executive medical director. "It's why we've worked so hard and with so many on the issue of hunger. This new grant serves as another great step forward and a vital option for Coloradans in need to gain access to food that can help them be healthy."

Last fall, Kaiser Permanente Colorado invited various local nonprofits to apply for a portion of the $1 million dollar food insecurity grant. To qualify, the nonprofit organizations had to demonstrate how they would effectively use a portion of the available grant to increase access to food and nutrition for Coloradans through SNAP or the Summer Food Service programs.

The 13 nonprofits selected come from various parts of Colorado—from Greeley to Colorado Springs and along the I-70 corridor in Eagle County. Here is the list of the various nonprofits who were chosen to receive a portion of the $1 million food insecurity grant over a two-year period:

Whether it's an urban farm or center for women who have experienced domestic violence, these organizations all have the ability to positively impact food insecurity.

"So often victims who are escaping abuse have few resources. This grant supports these victims on their new paths to self-sufficiency and safety," said SherryLynn Boyles, executive director of TESSA, an organization devoted to ending domestic and sexual violence. "We are excited to partner with Kaiser Permanente to help victims enroll in the SNAP food program, solving one of the puzzle pieces to starting a new life."  

Kaiser Permanente Colorado has long been a passionate supporter of the fight to end hunger. In 2010, Kaiser Permanente partnered with The Denver Foundation to establish Hunger Free Colorado, the state's largest organization that works to end hunger. In 2012, Kaiser Permanente began a program that screens patients in its medical offices for hunger. The program has successfully referred more than 1,800 Kaiser Permanente members to Hunger Free Colorado. Kaiser Permanente also teamed up with Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado to develop programs designed to distribute more food to community members. More recently, Kaiser Permanente provided the Denver Botanic Gardens with a three-year grant to help the Gardens expand its work providing access to fresh produce in Denver-area food deserts.

About Kaiser Permanente Colorado

Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state's largest nonprofit health plan, working to improve the lives and health of all Coloradans for more than 45 years. We are comprised of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and the Colorado Permanente Medical Group—one of the state's largest medical groups with more than 1,100 physicians. We provide comprehensive care for our 650,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members through 30 medical offices across the state—from Pueblo to Greeley and now in the mountains in Summit and Eagle counties. We are also committed to our social mission and in 2015, proudly directed more than $124 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit kp.org/share or follow us @kpcolorado or like us facebook.com/kpcolorado.

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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente Colorado