July 20, 2020

$500,000 to keep Washington state seniors fit and healthy

Kaiser Permanente funds the More Than Meals program to extend local agency reach to provide nutritional meals and exercise tools to help seniors stay healthy and fit.

Contact: Linnae Riesen

SEATTLE — Kaiser Permanente Washington is providing vital funding support to several senior service organizations that provide delivered, nutritious meal assistance for seniors in Washington state. This support will help ensure seniors will not go hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, called More Than Meals, provides more than a half-million dollars to 5 partner agencies.

Since early March, Kaiser Permanente has been conducting phone outreach to its senior members to make sure their health care needs are being met and to provide resources and referrals for other basic living needs they may have.

“Food security is a critical health need, and we know our older adults are particularly vulnerable and isolated at this time,” said Cindy Burdick, MD, medical director, Medicare and Medicaid for Kaiser Permanente Washington. “The More Than Meals program amplifies our commitment to keeping seniors healthy and fit by providing nutritious meals along with an exercise band and instructions to work out at home, as well as ongoing health tips and resources.”

Agencies receiving additional funding from Kaiser Permanente Washington to ensure ongoing meal support for existing clients and expansion to new clients include:

  • Sound Generations, serving King County. Kaiser Permanente funding will help to provide more than 15,000 meals to more than 4,100 clients.
  • Northshore Senior Center, serving North King County. Kaiser Permanente funding will support the expansion of daily meal service by 50%, and the opening of a second kitchen, hiring of additional cooks, and support for meal delivery.
  • Homage, serving Snohomish County. Kaiser Permanente funding will provide meals for more seniors and support a new software system that Homage is creating to help manage the complex logistics of operating programs at scale and to help ensure that seniors are able to remain in their homes for as long as possible.
  • Senior Services for South Sound, serving Thurston and Mason counties. Kaiser Permanente funding will more than double the number of seniors that Senior Services for South Sound is able to serve dietician-designed healthy meals.
  • Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels, serving Spokane County. Kaiser Permanente funding will support meal service and a new ServTracker system that will enable GSCMOW to better serve individual client needs and see larger trends among all their clients.

Through the More Than Meals program, Kaiser Permanente is leaning in to support local senior service organizations to meet increased demand and support the new and expanded meal delivery systems many organizations have developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When COVID-19 first appeared in our community, we quickly mobilized to shift our daily meals into meals we could deliver to seniors doorsteps, bringing them the food they rely on and also giving us both a way to stay connected,” said Brooke Knight, CEO of Northshore Senior Center. “The demand for hot meal delivery continues to grow, and we currently provide more than 120 hot meals each day. We’re so grateful for Kaiser Permanente’s support for these efforts, which will allow us to grow this much needed service even further over the coming months.”

The More Than Meals program addresses the increased need for nutritious meals for older adults. Importantly, it also complements this crucial outreach that Kaiser Permanente and the meal delivery programs offer by providing an opportunity for an in-person connection, checking on the health and well-being of clients and connecting them with essential resources. The More Than Meals investment will be distributed to the agencies in July.

“Our Community Dining program has managed to still build community despite transitioning from a congregate meal program to a to-go and delivery meal service,” said Brittany Blue, chief marketing and philanthropy officer with Sound Generations.

“With older adults being further isolated, this level of meal support has proven life-saving. Many aging adults who do not consider themselves homebound but rather temporarily confined to their homes have continuously shared that this program has been such a blessing and served as a pipeline for them to be connected to the many other services we offer.”

“We know that good nutrition and regular healthy movement lay an important foundation in overall health and ability to fight infection,” said Burdick. “COVID-19 has created barriers to obtaining healthy food and staying physically active. More Than Meals is a crucial component of Kaiser Permanente Washington’s efforts to support the health of our communities with a senior-specific focus.”

About Kaiser Permanente

For 75 years, Kaiser Permanente has been committed to shaping the future of health and health care — and helping our members, patients, and communities experience more healthy years. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Since July 21, 1945, Kaiser Permanente’s mission has been to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in eight 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.