Partnership for wholesome consuming established within the Delta
Mars Food, The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in partnership with Molina Healthcare of Mississippi (“Molina”) and the Kroger Delta Division announced a new partnership to expand the supply and accessibility of healthy foods in the Delta region and educate residents about education about healthy eating habits. Together, the coalition donates approximately 70,000 healthy meals * (including food and protein) each year. The companies are trying to form a larger coalition by inviting more like-minded companies from the region to join their ambitions.
Mars Food will invest $ 2.5 million over the next five years to improve access to healthy food and education for the underserved in the area. MolinaCares will add an additional $ 1.25 million to further support food access efforts. Kroger Delta Division will support local and state food pantry programs with additional sponsorship and investment. Specifically, the cumulative efforts over the next two years will focus on several key areas to:
- Help the City of Greenville establish a local FoodCorps Service Member program that supports the Greenville Public School District and the Western Line School District. FoodCorps connects children with healthy eating in school by offering hands-on lessons in growing, cooking, and preparing healthy foods.
- Purchase a refrigerator truck for Hearty Helpings Food Pantry to enhance the collection and distribution of fresh produce and protein to meet the needs of the Greenville community;
- Fund a community garden at Washington County’s Boys and Girls Club and train youth at risk to grow and harvest vegetables and prepare meals and
- Fund the Mississippi Food Network’s Mobile Food Pantry to distribute fresh and frozen produce and protein six times in 12 months to Greenville and local residents.
- Mars and MolinaCares are also evaluating additional area partnerships and projects to further improve access to healthy food for residents.
“I’m excited to see Molina and Kroger team up with Mars to make an even bigger impact in Greenville,” said Errick D. Simmons, Mayor of Greenville City. “Molina, Kroger and Mars’s investment decisions will definitely help our community have better access to healthy food and improve the nutritional education of our children – and their parents. I look forward to a long-term partnership with both companies and encourage other Greenville companies to join this great coalition. “
“We have been producing Ben’s Original ™ rice in Greenville, Mississippi for more than 40 years. During this time, Greenville has become our home. Therefore, Mars Food and Ben’s Original ™ will do everything possible to ensure that everyone has a chance to sit at a healthier table, especially in Greenville, ”said Denis Yarotskiy, Regional President of Mars Food North America. “I’m incredibly proud to work with MolinaCares and Kroeger to make an even bigger impact by helping nonprofit communities solve these problems that have been problematic in the Mississippi Delta region for generations.”
“Mississippi Delta residents, including many Molina members, have statistically worse health outcomes than other Mississippi,” said Carolyn Ingram, executive director of the Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation. “MolinaCares is proud to invest in programs and services that address critical social determinants of health, including food security, transportation and health-related education, which are badly needed in this region.”
“The Kroger Delta Division and The Kroger Company’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation are committed to ending hunger in the communities we serve and wasting it in our stores by 2025,” said Victor Smith, president of Kroger Delta Division. “I’m so proud of this partnership because it’s a great example of how our community leaders work together to provide food to families in need.”
* According to the USDA, 1.2 pounds is the same as one meal.
DeSoto County Intelligence Service