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Kaiser Donates $465K To Food Banks For Fruits, Veggies

PASADENA (CBS) — Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday announced 10 grants totaling $465,000 to help food banks in Los Angeles and Orange counties and elsewhere in California provide fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods to the needy.

Seven food banks, two Community Action Partnership organizations that operate food banks and the statewide group California Association of Food Banks will share in the grants, part of Kaiser's "Healthy Eating in Hard Times" program.

"Demand for services at Southern California food banks is on the rise by as much as 50 percent with the economic downturn," said Angela Coron, managing director of community benefit for Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

"The Healthy Eating in Hard Times program will not only help families in need to have a more joyful holiday season now, but the community benefit grants will support the very important role that food banks have in maintaining the health and well-being of families into 2011," she said.

Michael Flood, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank, said more than 400,000 children in Los Angeles County are receiving food assistance through its network of agencies.

"Proper nutrition is so important for the healthy development of a child," he said.

The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank will use its $80,000 grant for a project that includes purchasing and distributing 800,000 pounds of produce to partner agencies, increasing CalFresh — formerly known as food stamps — participation and boosting nutrition education programming for children and their parents.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County will use its $45,000 allotment to support the operations of the Mobile Pantry truck, which transports more than 5,000 pounds of fruit, vegetables and dry goods into low-income communities.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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