Skip to content

Addressing hunger during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread business closures, a steep rise in unemployment, and a surge in the number of people who did not have consistent access to enough food. The California Association of Food Banks estimates that 1 in 4 Californians is now struggling with food insecurity.

With a commitment to helping people access and afford healthy food, Kaiser Permanente responded in several ways. We started with a $1.5 million grant to Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation to deliver 150,000 healthy restaurant meals to Oakland students and families over the course of 6 weeks.

The effort, in collaboration with the Oakland Unified School District and World Central Kitchen, paid local restaurants to create the meals; enabling many restaurants to stay in business and keep workers employed, while supporting Oakland families in need.

We’ve always known that food insecurity was a big issue in Oakland, which is why ‘Eat,’ one of our key pillars in the foundation, was set in place.”

Photo of Steph and Ayesha Curry

Kaiser Permanente also awarded 18 grants of $95,000 each to Northern California food banks, community clinics, and family resource centers to fund innovative ways to enroll eligible households in CalFresh, California’s food stamp program. The $1.7 million in funding helped these nonprofits serve the growing number of people in the community needing food assistance, many of whom lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

For example, Kaiser Permanente’s support of the San Francisco Marin Food Bank enabled it to bolster its efforts to reach out to Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ communities, helping 1,400 eligible households apply for CalFresh benefits.

“We know these communities are more at risk for hunger, especially during the pandemic,” said Liliana Sandoval, who leads CalFresh enrollment efforts in San Francisco for the San Francisco Marin Food Bank.

In 2020, Kaiser Permanente also addressed food insecurity with the following grants and initiatives:

Funding for the California Association of Food Banks to secure state funding for emergency food disaster assistance and the California WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Association to ensure WIC benefits are provided to eligible families.

A text campaign targeting eligible low-income Kaiser Permanente members to help them quickly and easily apply for CalFresh.

Donations of tens of thousands of pounds of unserved nutritious hospital meals from 17 Kaiser Permanente Northern California medical centers to food pantries and homeless shelters.

Back To Top