August 11, 2021

Grant will improve food access for Colorado students

Seventeen school districts will use $300,000 grant to ensure equity in distribution of meals to students and increase enrollment in public food assistance programs.

Contact: Elizabeth Whitehead

According to Hunger Free Colorado’s most recent statewide survey conducted in April 2021, 1 in 3 Coloradans are food insecure — including school children. Recognizing the need to address food insecurity and improve the health of the communities it serves, Kaiser Permanente awarded 17 Colorado school districts with a total of $300,000 in grant support to help increase food distribution equity for tens of thousands of students during the 2021-22 school year. 

The funding will allow schools to obtain more equipment for safe food storage and preparation, increase transportation options for meal delivery in communities, and advance ongoing efforts to enroll more students and their families in federal food assistance programs.

“The link between total health and nutritious food is well documented, especially for young, developing minds. It’s simply unacceptable to have students without consistent access to healthy food,” said Mike Ramseier, regional president of Kaiser Permanente in Colorado. “We’re proud to provide this support to school districts along the Front Range, helping advance equitable distribution of food and resources for all students.”

Schools play an integral role in shaping lifelong healthy eating habits by offering nutritious meals through federal child nutrition programs. School children get up to half the food they need each day at school, which makes schools an important place for obtaining food and learning healthy eating habits.

“Good nutrition and access to healthy, nourishing food are as much a part of a quality learning experience as paper and pencils. Generous funds from our partners at Kaiser Permanente will help us to continue important outreach efforts connecting families to food resources within our schools and the greater community. We are also excited to offer our students more locally sourced fruits and vegetables and continue to feed their tummies — and their minds — with the very best,” said Charlotte Ciancio, Mapleton School District superintendent.

Through June 2022, school districts can use the support districtwide or for individual schools within each district. Funding will be used differently in each district. Included below are the Colorado school districts that received a portion of the support: 

  • Adams 14
  • Cañon City — Fremont Re-1
  • Cripple Creek-Victor Re-1
  • Ellicott 22
  • Colorado Springs District 11
  • Englewood
  • Fountain-Fort Carson 8
  • Fremont Re-2
  • Greeley-Evans 6
  • Hanover 28
  • Harrison 2
  • Mapleton
  • Pueblo D60
  • Sheridan 2
  • Weld Re-1
  • Weld Re-8
  • Westminster Public Schools

This grant support is part of Kaiser Permanente’s Food for Life work, which addresses food insecurity across the nation, and its Thriving Schools initiative, which is designed to improve the health of school communities.

Since 2013, Kaiser Permanente in Colorado has provided more than $10 million in Thriving Schools grants to improve the physical, mental, and emotional health of students, teachers, and staff. Collectively, the grants have helped to improve physical activity policies encouraging students to lead healthy lifestyles in and out of the classroom, increase social and emotional skills for staff, and reduce stigma toward the discussion of mental health in school districts across the state.

All this work to support school communities is part of Kaiser Permanente’s long-standing commitment to advance health in its communities.

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.