Working to Reduce Hunger for Seniors

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A $500,000 Kaiser Permanente grant to Meals on Wheels will triple the number of meals for seniors.

As part of its ongoing commitment to support the Bay Area’s aging population and to reduce hunger, Kaiser Permanente is providing a $500,000 grant to Meals on Wheels San Francisco (MOWSF). The grant will go towards building a large kitchen facility that will nearly triple healthy meals production. Additionally, the grant supports the critical work that MOWSF does in checking the general health of seniors, whether it is a client’s physical or mental wellbeing.

“We are committed to improving the health of our members and our communities,” said Maria Ansari, MD, cardiologist and physician in chief at the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. The funding will help address a critical community health need among seniors, by increasing access to healthy, affordable foods, including fresh produce. This is particularly important for one of San Francisco’s most vulnerable populations, many of whom require medically tailored meals.”

The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Health grant will help address the growing number of seniors needing health-appropriate meals. These nutritional meals are made to meet specific medical requirements. In San Francisco, the demand for these types of meals among seniors has increased by 10% per year for the last decade. With the new, expanded kitchen, Meals on Wheels is expecting to increase meal production capacity from 7,000 to 20,000 meals a day.

“We know that hunger and isolation is a serious public health issue in San Francisco, particularly for the thousands of food insecure seniors who rely on us for nutritious meals, wellness checks, and a friendly, compassionate human to visit them every day,” said Ashley McCumber, CEO and executive director of Meals on Wheels San Francisco. “Like us, Kaiser Permanente understands that sound nutrition is critical to stable health and that is why we are so grateful for this grant, which will allow us to continue feeding the growing population of seniors in San Francisco for decades to come.”

Living Healthier Lives through Nutrition

This type of meal service is critically important. Nearly 61% of the estimated 136,000 people over 65 living in San Francisco do not have enough money to meet their basic needs. Almost 75% of the 4,700 senior and disabled people that MOWSF served last year live at or below the Federal Poverty Level ($1,000 per month). With this grant, MOWSF expects its ability to help vulnerable seniors to grow by an additional 10% each year, which means thousands more will be receiving the meal service.

“Kaiser Permanente’s mission is supporting the well-being of the communities we serve,” said Ron Groepper, senior vice president and area manager of the Kaiser Permanente Greater San Francisco Area. “This grant takes another big step in helping the underserved to live healthier lives through better nutrition and general wellness.”

With nearly a 50-year history, Meals on Wheels is the single largest provider of meals and wellness checks to homebound seniors in San Francisco. The new kitchen and production facility will be built at 2230 Jerrold Avenue. Construction of the new facility is slated to be completed by December 2020.

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