UnitedHealthcare today awarded grants totaling $150,000 to five community organizations focused on expanding access to nutritional foods for Florida families and children.
According to Feeding Florida, 3.3 million Floridians, including 1.1 million children, are food insecure. The grant recipients, each of which have received $30,000, will help families in North, Central and South Florida with community- and school-based programs that include mobile food pantries, learning gardens, farmer’s market access, and meal budgeting, planning and cooking demonstrations.
- Feeding Northeast Florida (www.feedingnefl.org) – The grant will be used to provide 4,000 low-income households in eight counties access to fresh, healthy food distributed through mobile food pantry events.
- Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (www.jaxbeam.org) – The grant will fund individualized programs for 100 low-income Jacksonville beach-area residents coping with nutrition-related illness, as well as healthy-eating programs to 500 residents.
- Feeding Children Everywhere (www.feedingchildreneverywhere.com) – The grant will enable the organization to enhance access to fresh produce for families living in food desert communities in the Orlando area.
- The Education Fund (www.educationfund.org) – The grant will fund the expansion of the “Food Forest for Schools” initiative that provides vegetable gardening and harvest programs in Miami-Dade Public Schools.
- Whole Child Leon (www.wholechildleon.org) – The grant will provide 100 low-income, food-insecure families living in Leon County with healthy eating, meal budgeting, cooking and gardening workshops, and access to a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-accessible farmers market.
“UnitedHealthcare is partnering with these organizations to address a significant health challenge in our state – ensuring children have the food they need to grow and be healthy,” said Michael Lawton, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Florida. “The grants address the many facets of hunger by providing fresh fruits and vegetables directly to families living in food deserts, and nutrition education to households across the state.”
Lawton introduced the grant recipients at the state Capitol during Florida’s annual Children’s Week. Children’s Week is held during the Florida legislative session that raises awareness for access to education and health care, affordable childcare, nutrition and other childhood issues.
Dave Green, CEO of Feeding Children Everywhere, said many Floridians struggle to feed their families three meals a day, while others do not have access to fresh produce. “They, instead, fill that void with low-nutrition, high-calorie products. In collaboration with partners like UnitedHealthcare, we are reaching out to families in need – whether it’s fighting hunger today or preventing obesity in the future.”
According to 2017 America’s Health Rankings, Florida ranks No. 14 in the nation for obesity. Nearly 28 percent of adults in Florida are considered obese.
“Getting children off to a solid start by providing them with nutritious foods will go a long way toward improving their health and quality of life,” Lawton said. “UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to support these organizations, each with a unique approach to tackling hunger and helping families put nourishing food on their tables.”
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.