Nearly 30 million servings of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables distributed to low-income families in Conn., Mass., Maine, and NH though programs supported by Harvard Pilgrim Foundation

(WELLESLEY, Mass.) May12, 2021 Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation today announced the two-year impact of its Healthy Food Fund grant program. Based on an independent evaluation, the amount of healthy, local produce distributed free to low-income families in the region in 2020 increased 123 percent over 2019, with more than 7.5 million pounds of fresh produce distributed in two years, as a result of Harvard Pilgrim Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund contributions. That is the equivalent of nearly 30 million servings of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables reaching households in Conn., Maine, Mass., and N.H. over the past two years.

“We are incredibly proud of the work our healthy food partners have accomplished to increase access to fresh, affordable produce in communities and for families that need it most – all even more essential this past year,” said Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation's President, Karen Voci. “What they have done to increase the amount of fresh food they are distributing and respond to a critical community need, all while having significantly less volunteers to help due to the pandemic, is nothing short of astounding.”

Other important results include:

  • With increased rates of food insecurity due to the pandemic, there was a 40% increase in purchases made with SNAP and Healthy Incentive Program subsidies
  • A 76% increase from 2019 to 2020 in fresh local food sold via mobile farmers’ markets
  • A 61% increase in the number of communities reached from 2019 to 2020, with 568 produce distribution sites across 244 New England communities, with most in the highest rate of increased food insecurity.
  • A total of 27,280 adults had 5 servings of fruit/vegetables every day from June 1 through October 31, 2020
  • An additional investment of more than $7 million to address COVID-19 response and relief efforts across the region, including an extra $350,000 to Healthy Food Fund local programs.

Since 2016, more than $7 million in grants have been distributed to the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund initiatives within the region, with funds supporting 35 programs that grow and distribute fresh food for low-income families and communities across the region.  More than 12.5 million pounds of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables have reached underestimated families across the region. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation continued supporting its fleet of mobile produce markets in Hartford and Bridgeport, CT; Worcester, New Bedford, and Lowell, MA; Lewiston/Auburn, ME; and Manchester and the seacoast of NH. 

For more information on Harvard Pilgrim Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund impact, click here.

About the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation

Created in 1980, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 2020, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded more than $10.4 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in the region.  Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has awarded $165 million in funds and resources throughout the four states.  For more information, please visit



Kim Winn