- To support local communities facing food insecurity, Empire BlueCross gave a grant to provide more than 50,000 meals to students through the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s Backpack Program, and its associates committed to volunteer hours during three events in September and October
- Additionally, Empire’s parent foundation will build on its work to address food insecurity by investing up to $30M over the next three years focused on Food As Medicine; the RFP is open until October 1, 2021
LATHAM, NY – Empire BlueCross, in partnership with its company’s philanthropic arm, the Empire BlueCross Foundation, is on a mission to make nutritious food more accessible and affordable, and to improve access to food for local communities. In light of this commitment and Hunger Action Month this September, Empire BlueCross is hosting several Volunteer Day activities in the Capital Region focused on addressing hunger. Activities will take place at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham, the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society in Albany and Bethesda House in Schenectady.
Nearly 10 percent of people experience food insecurity in the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s service area, which includes 15.1 percent of children in the service area,[i] and these numbers are likely on the rise given the impact of challenges COVID-19 has introduced. In addition to the Volunteer Day activities, Empire BlueCross is providing more than 50,000 meals to students in need across the region. These meals are made possible by a $25,000 donation to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York to support the organization’s Backpack Program through August 2022.
“We are on a mission to materially and measurably improve the health of all New Yorkers, and ensuring our neighbors have access to nutritious food is at the foundation of this commitment,” said Jason O’Malley, regional vice president of sales and Albany market leader, Empire BlueCross. “We are looking forward to spending time at three organizations working to address food insecurity in the Capital Region, and our grant to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York represents our commitment to specifically addressing the needs of children across the region.”
Since 1982, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham has been providing over 55 million pounds of food annually to food insecure individuals in 23 counties.
“Access to nutritious food is vital to help children learn, thrive, and grow,” said Molly Nicol, Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. “Financial support from friends like Empire BlueCross makes an immeasurable difference in the lives of countless children, and the Food Bank is so grateful.”
Empire volunteers will work in both the produce sorting area and the warehouse dock at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, and will support the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society to pack a weekend bag for students containing shelf-stable meals and a book. At the Bethesda House, volunteers will serve in the soup kitchen helping to prepare, cook, and serve meals to those in need.
Finally, Empire’s parent foundation will build on its work to address food insecurity by investing up to $30M over the next three years focused on Food As Medicine while helping individuals reach their full potential for good health through food and nutrition. Through October 1, 2021, qualified nonprofit organizations with a history of proven, programmatic community initiatives are invited to join in these efforts. To learn more, visit the Food As Medicine RFP
About Empire BlueCross Foundation
Empire BlueCross Foundation, the trade name of the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation L.L.C., serving residents and businesses in 11 northeastern counties of New York State, is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. The Foundation works to address health equity by focusing on improving the health of the socially vulnerable through strategic partnerships and programs in our communities with an emphasis on maternal child health; mental health; and food as medicine. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Empire BlueCross Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.
[i] Feeding America. Food Insecurity in Service Area of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. 2019. Available at https://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2019/overall/new-york/organization/regional-food-bank-of-northeastern-new-york.