Kaiser Permanente pledges more than $500,000 to meal delivery programs for seniors in Washington state
More Than Meals program includes $140,000 to Homage to provide nutritional meals and exercise tools to help Snohomish County seniors stay healthy and fit
EVERETT, Wash. – Kaiser Permanente is providing vital funding support to Lynnwood-based Homage as part of a major investment 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 five partner agencies, including Homage.
“These funds couldn’t have come at a more critical time,” said Richard Robinson, director of Health, Wellness, and Nutrition for Homage. “Meals on Wheels and emergency meal requests have increased exponentially due to the impact of the pandemic. Without this generous support from Kaiser Permanente, Homage would not be able to meet the demand.”
Before COVID-19, Homage served approximately 600 low-income seniors and people with disabilities weekly. It is serving significantly more people now, and the number is expected to double by the fall and winter. In addition to providing more meals for seniors, the funding will also support a new software system that Homage is creating to help manage the complex logistics of operating programs at scale, across the county, helping to ensure that seniors are able to remain in their homes for as long as possible.
Kaiser Permanente’s funding is also being used to help develop a new community meals program to combat food insecurity in the wake of the closures of senior centers around Snohomish County.
“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.”
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 they may need for other basic living.
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 their clients and connecting them with essential resources. The More Than Meals investment will be distributed to the agencies in July.
“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.”
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