December 21, 2023
Overland Park, KS — HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s largest healthcare provider, announced today that the HCA Healthcare Foundation has awarded a $25,000 grant to Kanbe’s Markets to advance health equity efforts in Kansas City. The funding is through the HCA Healthcare Foundation’s Healthier Tomorrow Fund, a community impact fund with an initial investment of $75 million focused on addressing high priority community needs and health equity.
HCA Midwest Health will present Kanbe’s Markets with a check and host a volunteer effort comprised of HCA Midwest Health leadership and colleagues from around the region at the non-profit organization’s warehouse. The volunteer event will result in getting fresh food to family’s tables during the holiday season.
“At HCA Midwest, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life,” said HCA Midwest Health President Keith Zimmerman. “Kanbe’s Markets shares our core values, cares deeply about its customers and is committed to helping the people in our community. Our partnership with Kanbe’s Markets will address food insecurity throughout the region, and I can think of no better example of our mission in action than combating health inequality with an organization like this, and among our fellow neighbors in the communities we serve.”
Kanbe's Markets is working to build a more equitable and efficient food system in Kansas City by using excess food from wholesalers, farmers and gleaners, and redirecting it through its programming. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization’s flagship program, Healthy Corner Stores (HCS), partners with small corner stores, bodegas, gas stations and convenience stores to help them sell healthy, fresh and affordable food inside their existing operations. Kanbe’s Markets provide fresh produce on consignment, assuming all the risk and determine pricing independently. Kanbe’s ability to maintain competitive prices, often matching or undercutting traditional grocery stores, is driven by the economies of scale derived from its expansive decentralized network of 50 stores.
Kanbe’s customers are individuals and families facing food insecurity with a secondary audience of people actively in food crisis, delivering hundreds of thousands of pounds of rescued produce directly to charities, pantries and hunger relief organizations. Kanbe’s final customer segment is funneling nutritious produce to feed animals on farms and in zoos.
“The support from HCA Midwest Health is a driving force behind our efforts to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables throughout our city,” said Max Kaniger, Kanbe’s Markets founder and CEO. “It's truly remarkable that the largest healthcare provider in our region is not only investing in healthier communities but also dedicating their team's time to volunteer efforts. They are ensuring that fresh produce reaches areas where it can make the most positive impact, rather than being wasted in a landfill.”
"Refugees and immigrants can easily slip into food insecurity,” said Jessica Rousseau, health education coordinator, Jewish Vocational Services (JVS). “More specifically, they can easily slip into nutrition insecurity. Since June of 2022, our partnership with Kanbe's Markets has helped JVS provide fresh produce to over 350 of our clients — from seven different language groups — to help mitigate some of the potential barriers to good health. Our clients are accustomed to eating and cooking with whole, fresh produce and often struggle in their transition to a new food system in the United States. Kanbe's generosity means that our clients know that they can come to our office to pick up fresh food each Thursday. They not only get free access to highly nutritious produce, but they also can learn about some new produce that is grown mostly in this part of the world!"
Launched in August 2023, the Health Equity Catalyst Grant provides a one-time operating grant to support organizations and collaboratives addressing health inequities in a defined focus area in order to advance or accelerate efforts to:
- Provide culturally and structurally competent services
- Advance high-impact health equity programming
- Support collaborative health equity efforts, and/or
- Address root causes of health inequities.
Funding the Healthier Tomorrow Fund at the HCA Healthcare Foundation is one example of the many ways HCA Healthcare is making a positive impact in the communities it serves. In 2022, HCA Healthcare provided charity care, uninsured discounts, and other uncompensated care at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion. Additionally, HCA Healthcare continues to invest in the ongoing education and development of its colleagues and, as an enterprise, contributed $44.2 million to community organizations in 2022.
HCA Midwest Health has a rich, 20-year history of giving back to and caring for the community. From helping address food insecurity to ensuring healthy, safe environments for children and community members to providing much-needed medical supplies for disadvantaged communities, HCA Midwest Health colleagues demonstrate what it means to show up for those in need.
“At HCA Healthcare, we believe partnerships are essential to advancing our mission to care for and improve human lives,” said Joanne Pulles, president of the HCA Healthcare Foundation. “Partnering with organizations like Kanbe’s Markets allows us to do more for our communities than we can do separately.”