Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield is providing $600,000 in financial support to food banks and food pantries across upstate New York as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ability to earn a paycheck and feed a family are at risk for many people because of the coronavirus,” said James Reed, president and CEO-elect. “This is leading to a growing number of people in our community experiencing food insecurity. Good health begins with good food. We saw an opportunity to help by providing needed support to food banks and food pantries that are under pressure because of an increased need in our communities.”
Nearly 14% of New York households struggled with hunger before the COVID-19 outbreak, and at least 1 million children lived in households that did not have regular and consistent access to food, according to the New York State Anti-Hunger Task Force. Families’ abilities to have food on the table regularly was compromised as the state unemployment rate increased over the last few months. Local food banks and pantries are straining to meet the new demand.
This donation will support food banks and food pantries across the health insurer’s 39-county service area in upstate New York. That includes $160,000 to support Foodlink Inc. in Rochester.
“Foodlink is a proud partner of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in our effort to help build healthier communities across Rochester and the Finger Lakes region,” said Julia Tedesco, president and CEO of Foodlink. “Excellus BCBS understands the vital importance of food and nutrition in helping our region recover from this pandemic, and we’re grateful for their significant investment in our ongoing response to this public health crisis.”
This donation is part of a larger commitment by Excellus BCBS to spend more than $162 million to help its members, health care providers and communities respond to the pandemic. Visit chooseexcellus.com/covid19 for information on the health plan’s COVID-19 response.