On Thursday, February 5th CommunityGrows was honored to join other 2015 Kaiser-Permanente-San Francisco Community Benefit Grantees for a social gathering with hospital leaders, physicians, and managers. The grantees in attendance represented three priority health needs identified in the latest Kaiser-Permanente Community Health Needs Assessment: to increase access to high quality health care and services, to insure safe and healthy environments, and to increase healthy eating and active living (HEAL).
One of the highlights of the afternoon was meeting the the members of the Kaiser-Permanente community and Gina Gregory-Burns, MD, Co-Chair of the Community Benefit Advisory Committee, Chief of Diversity at Kaiser-Permanente-San Francisco, and a physician in the Spanish Primary Care Unit. Dr. Gregory-Burns talked about the joy she had reading grantee proposals and learning of the good work we are doing. Standing next to Dr. Gregory-Burns is James Illig, her co-chair and Community Benefit Manager for Kaiser-Permanente San Francisco.
CommunityGrows received a grant to increase access to and consumption of healthy food. We are seeking to reduce health disparities in the Western Addition by providing youth with access to free Seed-to-Mouth classes that increase their exposure to healthy foods and cooking. Offered once a week for two hours, classes take place over 30 weeks during the school year and 6-8 weeks during the summer. Cooking classes emphasize recipes that incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables that come directly from CommunityGrows gardens. Recipes are also chosen together by staff and youth, and reflect the cultural diversity of the students. Lessons about good nutrition and how it relates to physical health are incorporated into each class through games, songs and other teaching tools. Because many youth are cooking for the first time, the curriculum also includes lessons about kitchen safety and basic cooking skills. Occasionally, guest chefs from local restaurants donate their time to teach youth additional skills. At the end of each class youth receive the recipe explored that day, and at the end of the year students receive a cookbook with all recipes cooked during the previous months. These tools encourage children to take the healthy meals cooked and eaten in class and replicate them at home, with their parents and siblings.