HONOLULU — Kaiser Permanente in Hawaii has announced that it has awarded grants totaling $122,100 to 3 vital community organizations. The grants will bolster food security for the state’s most vulnerable populations.
Helping Hands Hawaii received $50,000 to support its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, outreach, which helps at-risk, underserved, and low-income individuals and households access public food assistance programs. Helping Hands Hawaii will help households fill out, submit, and follow up on applications; provide interpretive assistance; help recipients maintain benefits; and conduct outreach activities designed to ensure proper use of the SNAP benefits. The organization aims to reach 150 potential applicants during the grant period.
Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Inc, an organization dedicated to improving the health of Native Hawaiians, received $50,000 for its Hanai aku, Hanai mai (Feed and Be Fed) program. The program aims to connect Native Hawaiian communities on Maui to medical and social health services. Between January and June 2022, the organization will distribute 150 boxes of fresh produce monthly to areas not readily served by the Maui Foodbank. It will also host community outreach events to educate the public on health topics such as exercise, stress management, and diabetes management. The program will target homesteads in Wailuku, Waiohuli, and Leialii, as well as the rural areas of Kahakuloa Village, Keanae, Kaupo, and Hana. Hui No Ke Ola Pono expects to serve 3,600 people through this program.
Hawaii Foodbank received $22,100 to support a new Farm to Foodbank program. Through this program, food banks are able to be a customer of last resort for farmers who have crops to harvest, but no buyers. The grant will enable the food bank to pay for the labor, processing, and packaging costs incurred as the farmer brings the crop to harvest. The farmers then donate the crop to the food bank and are able to obtain a tax incentive for the donation. Finally, the food bank will distribute the farm-direct produce to families in the community. More than 10,000 people on Oahu, Kauai, and Hawaii Island will benefit from the produce. Hawaii Foodbank, which serves Oahu and Kauai, and The Food Basket on Hawaii Island are both looking at this small contract as the start of a critically important program for both Hawaii agriculture and its constituents. As it grows, the Farm to Food Bank program will strengthen Hawaii’s local food supply while serving underserved families.
“A nutritious, balanced diet is a cornerstone of health, so it’s critically important at Kaiser Permanente that we help our communities get better access to healthy, affordable foods,” said John Yang, MD, president and medical director, Hawaii Permanente Medical Group. “Research shows that people without consistent access to sufficient food spend about 45% more on medical care each year than those in food-secure households. We’re proud to support Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Helping Hands Hawaii, and Hawaii Foodbank in their collective mission to nourish underserved communities and help Hawaii thrive.”
Every year, Kaiser Permanente partners with community organizations across the state that are working to address some of the most pressing socioeconomic issues impacting Hawaii residents. In 2021, Kaiser Permanente provided $3.8 million in total support to organizations that strive to uplift local communities by providing services to improve social determinants that drive good health and well-being.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 12.5 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.