Valley Children’s Hospital Receives $25,000 from Rite Aid Healthy Futures to Expand Equitable Care

Valley Children’s Hospital Receives $25,000 from Rite Aid Healthy Futures to Expand Equitable Care

(Madera, California) - Valley Children’s Hospital has received a $25,000 grant from Rite Aid Healthy Futures, designed to help expand equitable care and improve health outcomes for children in underserved and vulnerable neighborhoods.

Valley Children’s Kids Eat Smart Program is designed to help children and families gain access to healthy food options. Many children may not have access to healthy foods as part of their regular diet. By offering free fruits to families at grocery and convenience stores, children and families are more likely to make healthy food choices. The Kids Eat Smart program’s long-term goal is to give more kids a chance to include fresh fruit in their daily choices, recognizing the value of fresh fruits and vegetables in a child’s overall health and reducing conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

“We are so grateful to Rite Aid Healthy Futures for this generous contribution,” said Lynne Ashbeck, Valley Children’s senior vice president and chief community impact officer. “The grant will help us improve access to fresh fruits and encourage kids to make healthy food choices. Children will be able to enjoy a free piece of fruit while they shop with their families at several local stores. We know that behavior change starts with small steps and even one piece of fruit a day can change a child’s food choices over time.”

The funding comes through the charity’s Connecting Communities signature initiative and is part of an overall $3 million investment in more than 30 children’s hospitals serving Rite Aid communities.

The goal of Connecting Communities is to help major institutions like children’s hospitals collaborate with the neighborhoods around them in new and deeper ways, and ultimately connect people and places with the resources needed to advance health and racial equity.

Initial funding will support a wide range of hospitals and their community-based programs across 15 states. Funded programs concentrate on screening for food insecurity, food distribution and nutrition education, and aim to help eliminate root obstacles that keep communities from achieving health and wellness.

The grants are funded through Rite Aid’s KidCents fundraising program. Generous Rite Aid customers can round up their purchases online or in-store to support children’s health and wellness. Healthy Futures reinvests the funds into Rite Aid communities through programs like Connecting Communities.

“Expanding equitable care doesn’t start in the emergency room. It starts in our neighborhoods,” said Matt DeCamara, executive director of Rite Aid Healthy Futures. “Though the needs are great, so are the opportunities for progress. Children’s hospitals already play a critical role delivering vital medical care, and many of these institutions have developed impactful programs to serve kids, families and communities in ways that extend beyond traditional medical care. Working together, we can ensure everyone has what they need to live longer, healthier lives.”

Thanks to this grant, Valley Children’s is in the process of expanding the Kids Eat Smart program from six current locations throughout Fresno and Clovis and will announce additional location details in the next few weeks.

Kids Eat Smart is an initiative of Valley Children’s Guilds Center for Community Health, the first of its kind in the Central Valley. The Center was established in 2019 to help bridge the exceptional care kids receive within the Valley Children's network and the health impacts children experience where they live, learn and play.

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