Press Release: Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell Joins YPI and Vons to Launch LA Promise Zone food Insecurity Nutrition Program

December 1, 2016

This morning, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell joined the Youth Policy Institute and Vons Supermarket to launch the Los Angeles Promise Zone (LAPZ) FINI project, designed to increase access to affordable, healthy, locally grown produce for low-income residents who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California.

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"Fresh, nutritious, and locally sourced food options make for healthy families and healthy communities," said Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. "I have a record on the Los Angeles City Council of improving access to better food options, and I am pleased to be part of this announcement with Youth Policy Institute and Vons to help people at a financial disadvantage purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at designated markets. I commend both organizations for partnering to help families put healthy food on the table at lower costs."

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Improving health and increasing access to locally grown, fresh produce are critical pieces of the Los Angeles Promise Zone strategy, which also include efforts to improve education, develop the workforce, preserve affordable housing, and make communities safer. The Promise Zone is President Obama’s signature anti-poverty initiative.

 “The goal of the Promise Zone is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, and that effort can start with something as simple as a nutritious meal,” said Dixon Slingerland, President & CEO of the Youth Policy Institute. “Our partnership with Vons and Pavilions helps make fresh foods at the market more accessible to families, and this program will spur the development of healthier communities across the Promise Zone.”

The FINI program, which was funded by a grant from the USDA, will include an incentive program designed to encourage SNAP recipients to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption. For every dollar participants spend on fresh fruits and vegetables (using their EBT card), they can purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables with the use of $5 Vons and Pavilions vouchers, for up to $100 in purchases per month.

“Part of being the neighborhood grocer means being a good steward and doing the right thing for our communities,” said Vons and Pavilions Area Vice President Stephen Cech. “We are fully committed to this partnership with YPI and look forward to helping the participating families as they commit themselves to live healthier lives.”

Three Los Angeles Vons stores and one Pavilions have been selected as partner locations for the program. The grocery chain will be working with YPI to track ongoing changes in fruit and vegetable consumption among participants, which they hope will ultimately lead to long-term positive changes in eating habits and health outcomes.

“I am excited to start the Vons voucher program. I taught my children to eat healthy from an early age but now eating healthy is costing me more money,” said Marcela Baltazar, mother of 3 and resident of East Hollywood. “By participating in the Vons voucher program, I’ll be able to use the extra monthly $50 to help my family budget for my growing kids and hardworking husband."

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About the Youth Policy Institute

For over 30 years, YPI has been breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. YPI reaches more than 115,000 youth and adults annually at 137 program sites in Los Angeles. YPI is the only agency in the country to have been awarded all three signature White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives: Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation; and is the lead implementation partner for the Los Angeles Promise Zone. Together, these initiatives form a place-based approach to fighting poverty, reducing crime, improving educational opportunities and creating access to jobs. For more information, visit www.ypiusa.org. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram @ypiusa

About Albertsons, Vons & Pavilions

Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions operates 352 stores and has over 36,000 employees in Southern California. The Fullerton-based chain is a division of The Albertson's Companies, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States. With both a strong local presence and national scale, the parent company operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 19 well-known banners. In addition to Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions, the banners include Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs. Albertsons Companies is dedicated to helping people across the country live better lives. In 2015 alone, with the help of generous customers, Albertsons Companies and the Albertsons Companies Foundation gave more than $270 million in food and financial support to the more than 2,300 communities they serve, improving the lives of millions of people in the areas of hunger relief, education, cancer research and treatment, programs for people with disabilities, and veterans outreach. Albertsons Companies is committed to making a meaningful difference, neighborhood by neighborhood.

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