Kaiser Permanente Donates $90K to fight food insecurity

  • Courtesy of KAISER PERMANENTE DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks program partners with food retailers to make Hawaii-grown fruits and vegetables more affordable to low-income households.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii will award $90,000 for the statewide expansion of DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks program, a partnership between The Food Basket and the Hawaii Good Food Alliance to provide food assistance to low-income households.

The Food Basket is a food distribution agency in Hawaii County, providing hunger relief to its community since 1989. It recently expanded its DA BUX program to all counties throughout the state. DA BUX partners with food retailers to make Hawaii-grown fruits and vegetables more affordable for SNAP-EBT cardholders. The program aims to help low-income families, local farmers and Hawaii’s communities.

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“Access to fresh food is vital to a healthy mind and body, yet so many local families don’t have the time and resources right now to prioritize nutrition,” said Greg Christian, president, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Health Plan and Hospitals. “They are just trying to make ends meet. We are humbled to support The Food Basket to make it easier for families to access fresh, local produce.”

Participating DA BUX retailers discount their locally-grown produce by 50% for customers paying with federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food dollars. The Food Basket uses DA BUX program funds to reimburse the retailer for their issued discounts to cover the total retail cost of sold produce. These discounts make it easier for families to purchase fresh, local produce and, in turn, retailers are able to increase their purchases from local farmers.

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The state Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 512, expanding the Hawaii Health Food Incentive Program, also known as the Double Up Food Bucks Program. The program aims to make fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables more readily accessible to SNAP-EBT cardholders.

SB 512 removes the $10 per visit per day cap on the dollar-for-dollar match that SNAP-EBT cardholders receive for purchasing fresh, Hawaii-grown produce at participating farmers markets and retailers. Under this bill, healthy proteins will also be eligible for purchase through the Double Up Food Bucks Program, allowing families easier access to a healthy, well-rounded diet.

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