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$422,500 and a Chance to Beat Obesity

A 3-year, $422,500, grant has been awarded to Alameda Health System (AHS) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDAFINI (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program) grant program.  The primary purpose of the FINI grant program is to provide funds for and evaluate projects that help low-income consumers who participate in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Program: “food stamps”) to purchase fruits and vegetables by providing them with a match fund for these purchases.

Goal of Grant

The goal of the grant is to test various strategies on how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants. This information will give the USDA and FINI needed information to develop future efforts to promote healthier items as a strategy for fighting obesity in low-income communities.

Partnership with Mandela MarketPlace

In a partnership with Madela MarketPlace, a nationally-recognized Oakland-based nonprofit with 10 years of experience in healthy food access, AHS has set up a program to address the needs of CalFresh (SNAP as it is known in California) recipient patients who are unable to cover the cost of healthy food. The project places an emphasis on increasing availability and affordability of fruits and vegetables in a retail setting.

Increasing Access

The program matches part of a participant’s CalFresh funds to increase the amount of money participants have to purchase healthy foods. Participants will receive Credibles credit on top of their CalFresh benefits, when they buy fruits and vegetables. Credibles is an online direct-to-consumer incentive system, that will be used at Mandela’s network of SNAP-authorized retailers, including  produce stands (one of which will be onsite at Highland Hospital) and corner stores throughout West and East Oakland (two of which are in Highland Park).


AHS Health Advocates will help to screen and enroll patients (through a grant from CalFresh) for food stamps, assist with logistics at initial points of patient identification, Such as the Hope Clinic, Peds Clinic, Adult Medicine, Care Transitions, and Women’s Clinic.

The first cohort of patients will be enrolled in early 2016.


Identified (eligible or already receiving CalFresh food stamps) and willing to participate in the package of programs which may include education and support groups.

Measure of Success

The project is being supported by an outside evaluator, the Samuels Center, to help measure the program’s success. Exact measurements of success have not been solidified but could include: participation length/rates, analytics from patient self-reporting, and bio markers; compared against a delayed intervention comparison patient group. The project’s initial funding allows patients to be enrolled for two years.

Related Articles:

USDA Seeks Applications for $16.8 Million in Grants to Empower SNAP Participants to Make Healthy Eating Choices

USDA Awards $31 Million in Grants to Help SNAP Participants Afford Healthy Foods

USDA Announces up to $31 Million to Empower People to Make Healthy Eating Choices

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