WELLESLEY, Mass., May 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation today announced the third-year impact of its Healthy Food Fund grant program. Based on an independent evaluation, the amount of healthy, local produce distributed free to low-income families in the region increased 169 percent over the past three years to 4.6 million pounds of fresh produce, as a result of Harvard Pilgrim Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund contributions; and the amount of produce sold increased 686 percent in the same time period. The total dollar value of healthy food reaching households in communities across the region since 2016 is $9.6 million.
“We are so pleased that only three years into making these investments, we can demonstrate that nearly 5 million pounds of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables are reaching families across the region,” said Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation’s President, Karen Voci. “We are incredibly proud of the work our healthy food partners have accomplished to increase access to fresh, affordable produce in communities and for families that need it most.”
Other important results include:
- Every $1 invested yielded $2.5 in produce sold or distributed
- A 686 percent increase in food sales on mobile markets and at farmers markets;
- A 169 percent increase in food that was distributed for free to organizations such as food banks, pantries and soup kitchens; and
- A 331 percent increase in places where people can buy or pick up food.
“Under Karen’s leadership, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation is doing important work to help build healthy and strong communities in New England,” said Michael Carson, President and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Chair of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation board. “These results are only the beginning. Harvard Pilgrim will continue to provide health and wellness resources in order to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable and to lower costs. Access to fresh, healthy food is integral to this mission and we are happy to do our part.”
Of the 25 Healthy Food Fund projects in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, seven sold healthy local food through Farmers’ Markets, Mobile Markets, subsidized Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and farm stands; five distributed food free-to-the-recipients through gleaning, food banks, community meals, and youth agriculture programs; and 13 organizations sold and distributed fresh local food.
Since 2016, more than $3.7 million in grants was distributed to the Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund initiatives within the region, with funds supporting programs that grow and distribute fresh food for low-income families and communities across the region. The Foundation continued supporting its fleet of mobile produce markets in Hartford, CT; Worcester and Lowell, MA; Lewiston/Auburn, ME; and the seacoast of NH.
For more information on Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund impact, click here.
About The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 2018, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded more than $1.25 million in grants to 855 nonprofit organizations in the region. Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has awarded $150 million in funds and resources throughout the four states. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.
SOURCE The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation