LATHAM, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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. Two activities took place at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham, and a third will take place at the Patroon Land Farm in Voorheesville, in partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.
Nearly 10 percent of people experience food insecurity in the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s service area, which includes 16.5 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 250,000 meals to people in need across the region. These meals are made possible by an $11,800 donation to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, which is the host site of its Volunteer Day activities, as well as an additional $10,000 donation to the South End Children’s Café to support food equality by providing free, healthy dinners to children and their families five days a week and a $15,000 donation made earlier this year to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area to support meal programs and essential staff during COVID-19.
“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. “It was humbling to partner with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York as they work to distribute food to our communities struggling with food insecurity, and we look forward to working with the Patroon Land Farm to help bring fresh produce to people in need.”
Since 1982, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham has been providing over 35 million pounds of food annually to food insecure individuals in 23 counties. Empire BlueCross volunteers sorted and packaged food boxes for distribution.
“Many low-income people struggle to keep food on the table, and that is especially true now as the pandemic has put many people out of work. We are seeing more requests for food assistance than ever before, many from people who are experiencing hunger for the first time,” said Mark Quandt, Executive Director, Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. “We are working hard to meet the increased need during this time of uncertainty. We are able to do more because so many businesses and individuals are donating food, funds, and time. We appreciate our friends at Empire BlueCross for their financial and volunteer support, which helps us feed hungry people in the Capital District and beyond.”
In partnership with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, the Patroon Land Farm in Voorheesville cultivates 14 acres of fresh vegetables to provide to those in need. Empire BlueCross volunteers will harvest, wash, sort, and package produce items.
About Empire BlueCross Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Empire BlueCross Foundation, trade name of the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation L.L.C., independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, serving residents and businesses in 11 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State, promotes Empire’s commitment to improving lives and communities. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the Foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. 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. 2018. Available at https://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2018/overall/new-york/organization/regional-food-bank-of-northeastern-new-york.