On Thursday, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced that Healthy BR is the recipient of nearly $2 million in grant funds from the Humana Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation for the Geaux Get Healthy program.
Geaux Get Healthy will work in three Baton Rouge-area zip codes with the highest rates of food insecurity and health disparities (70805, 70807, and 70802). With a coalition of local partners, this program will make fresh food available at an affordable price and provide educational programs to increase consumption of fresh food, including:
- Discounted fresh food through Top Box NOLA, which residents can order through local churches, corner stores, and other convenient locations
- A mobile market that will bring fresh food into neighborhoods, managed by Grow Baton Rouge
- A community-led outdoor event space that will promote and support Geaux Get Healthy programs, created by MetroMorphosis
- An urban youth farm that will grow food, teach food sustainability and develop leadership skills run by The Walls Project
- A fresh food initiative to bring a grocery store to food desert areas, created by HOPE Credit Union
Broome said of the deal, “I made a commitment to invest in disinvested communities, and with today’s announcement, we are doing just that,” said Mayor Broome. “By working alongside the community, we will address the social determinants of health that affect the lives of all residents. This program will address food insecurity and social isolation, which brings us one step closer to becoming a community of peace, prosperity, and progress. I want to thank both the Humana Foundation and the Blue Cross Foundation for coming together to support our community.”
For at least the last decade north Baton Rouge has seen grocery and fresh fruit markets closed. The reasons have differed, but the population of north Baton Rouge has not decreased though food fresh food access has — much like other quality of life enhancements. “With these major commitments, such as the $700,000 investment to Healthy BR that we are announcing today, the Humana Foundation is investing in programs that are focused on decreasing barriers and obstacles to support people and communities in achieving their best possible health,” said Walter Woods, CEO of the Humana Foundation. “By investing in programs where leadership, culture and systems work to improve and sustain positive health outcomes, we are excited to partner with Healthy BR to achieve greater health equity in Baton Rouge.”
Through the Geaux Get Healthy grant, Healthy BR has brought together two major insurance foundations to help address health disparities in our community.
“As one of the founding partners of Healthy BR, we’ve been steadily impressed with the difference this organization has made over the years through effective collaboration. A coalition of healthcare and community partners is the best way to address the underlying issues that create Louisiana’s health disparities,” said Michael Tipton, President of the Blue Cross Foundation. “We are humbled to be a part of this impressive group of committed allies, including the Humana Foundation, the mayor and Healthy BR, and are proud to invest $1,000,000 over the next three years to this effort” he added.