Kaiser helps fund Sacramento-area nonprofits promoting healthful food

07/15/2013 12:00 AM

07/15/2013 6:33 AM

The region's healthy-food movement got a boost last week when Kaiser Permanente's Community Benefits Program granted more than $200,000 to nine programs.

The distribution was part of a larger batch of $1.4 million in grants that Kaiser made to 56 Sacramento-area nonprofits working to improve community health.

"The impact of their work on our community is tremendous," said Patricia Rodriguez, senior vice president of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, South Sacramento.

Among the recipients, with a $7,500 grant, was the California Food Literacy Center, which recently graduated its first class. Literacy center founder Amber Stott of Sacramento teaches adults how to instruct schoolchildren in nutrition, active living and wellness principles.

The certified graduates then fan out into disadvantaged neighborhoods to engage kids in public libraries and other public gathering places.

Soil Born Farms received $25,000 for its "Eat Your Veggies" Urban Agriculture & Education Project.

The Oak Park Farmers Market, run by Sacramento Neighborhood Housing Services, received $20,000. In addition, the Oak Park Preschool program operated by the Healthy Families Coalition received $7,500.

The Health Education Council's Park Prescription Pilot Project got $35,715; Placer Food Bank received $27,485 for its healthy families infrastructure; Folsom Cordova Unified School District's nutrition and wellness program got $35,000.

And Elk Grove Food Bank Services' mobile pantry nutrition program received $25,000 from Kaiser.

Also among the grantees was Fresh Producers, a Sacramento-based nonprofit group that aims to increase access to healthy food, as well as create opportunities for teenagers.

Fresh Producers' grant supports a multi-week competition called "The Change Game," in which two youth teams work to promote good eating habits and access to affordable fresh food.

The teenagers will hold a series of community events that they will plan and carry out, partly under the coaching of Sacramento chefs Oliver Ridgeway of Grange Restaurant and Adam Pechal of Tuli Bistro and Restaurant THIR13EN.

Rabbi David Wechsler-Azen, founder of Fresh Producers, said the funding is "critical to getting these teens engaged and active, to compete with each other to do good things."

Kaiser makes the grants annually as part of its role as a nonprofit supporter of the greater community's overall health.

Call The Bee's Cynthia H. Craft, (916) 321-1270. Read her Healthy Choices blog, blogs.sacbee.com/healthy-choices/. Follow her on Twitter @cynthiahcraft.

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