Jackson, MS – (April 2, 2015) – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program, awarded AARP Foundation a grant of $3.3 million, with an additional $1 million coming from UnitedHealthcare, to implement a multi-year $6.6 million incentive program in Mississippi and Tennessee to increase the purchase and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. The goal of this program is to increase the purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables and to improve nutrition and health outcomes for low-income consumers.
“We are very pleased to receive this generous grant from USDA that underscores AARP Foundation’s important work to ensure all Americans can afford nutritious food and lead productive, healthful lives,” said AARP Mississippi Interim State Director Kelly Cress. “I would also like to thank our friends at UnitedHealthcare, Kroger Co., the Tennessee and Mississippi Departments of Human Services and Departments of Agriculture for their support, because collaboration of this magnitude is crucial in finding a solution to end senior hunger.”
In the report, “Food Insecurity Among Older Adults,” Mississippi ranked highest – 12.99 percent – of people between the ages of 50 and 59 who face food insecurity. Encouraging more nutritious diets is a focus in the health care industry, which recognizes better nutrition as a disease prevention and health promotion measure. AARP Foundation agrees with this view and believes making fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible is particularly important for older adults and individuals living with limited or fixed incomes.
“Food insecurity is an issue that affects 45 million people in the United States, so UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to work with AARP Foundation and support programs that give people access to healthy and affordable food,” said Austin Pittman, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid business.
Beginning in September 2015, SNAP recipients will be able to take advantage of this incentive program at select Kroger’s stores and farmers markets. AARP Foundation is contracting with Wholesome Wave, a non-profit organization with a track record of establishing incentive programs, to provide training and technical assistance to farmers markets and to assist with implementation of the outreach plan.
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, strengthen communities, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.
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 more than 850,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves 45 million people in health benefits and 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 @myUHC on Twitter.