We are proud to announce that at this year’s Rose Parade® on January 1, the Mid-Atlantic States will be represented by Linda Watson, an employee of DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) and one of our long-standing community partners. She will be on Kaiser Permanente’s Rose Parade float, which is themed “Inspiring Healthy Communities.” (see illustration at right)
Linda was selected to be on the float because she is an inspiration and a true ambassador for community health. Nearly 15 years ago, Linda was a single mother navigating the complex DC shelter system. She relied on DCCK for the free, healthy meals they provide to partner nonprofits and enrolled in the organization’s Culinary Job Training program.
She now serves as a production manager for DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy School Food program – a food service operation for 14 DC Public Schools. Linda says she loves leading her team in preparing healthy, made-from-scratch cooked meals for DC kids and the new apartment which her family often visits.
She approaches her role with the Healthy School Food team the same way she handled her time in the Culinary Job Training program: with grace and grit. Her resolve changed her own life and now is helping to improve the lives of DC schoolchildren. Linda is a model of what’s possible for current students enrolled at DC Central Kitchen.
Kaiser Permanente funded DCCK’s expansion to its Nutrition Lab kitchen facility, which was essential to the organization’s school food service efforts, and its Healthy Corners venture to address food deserts in DC’s low-income Wards 7 and 8. Earlier this year, this innovative program was recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation at its inaugural Healthy10 Awards.
Kaiser Permanente has had a float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., for 13 years. This year our float features a whimsical community garden, which is intended to inspire everyone to play an active role in creating healthy communities – emphasizing that participation need not be limited by age, social, or economic barriers. This year’s Rose Parade theme, “Making a Difference,” ties to our mission of improving the health of the communities in which we live, work, and play.
More information about our role in the Rose Parade is posted on KP Share. In addition, more information about all the Kaiser Permanente Rose Parade float riders will be published in the coming weeks. Please feel free to share this with your teams as something we call all be proud of.