The Westside Food Bank in Santa Monica is one of nine local food banks that have received $630,000 in grants from Kaiser Permanente Southern California during the holiday season.

The Santa Monica food bank was awarded a $60,000 grant toward its services.

A Kaiser Permanente Southern California spokesperson noted that food banks across Southern California are facing increased demand for their services due to unemployment and the weak economy, and donations are expected to continue to decline in 2012.

“Through Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating in Hard Times program, we are providing nutritious food to many families in need this holiday season,” said Angela Coron, managing director of community benefit for Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

“Our grant recipients are poised to meet the immediate needs of the communities we serve into 2012. We are easing the struggle that many families face as they work to put food on the table and we are ensuring that families obtain fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The food banks plan to utilize the grant monies to purchase produce and equipment such as freezers, increase education about healthy eating, and support CalFresh outreach and enrollment, the Kaiser Permanente spokesperson said.

The Healthy Eating in Hard Times program seeks to ensure that food bank and pantry patrons are able to obtain healthy foods and that low-income families who are eligible are participating in federal nutrition programs.

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