Food Bank for New York City Receives $450K From New York’s Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation to Launch ‘Food as Medicine’ Program

Brooklyn Event Kicks Off $2.2M Statewide Initiative

Empire presented a check for $450,000 to Food Bank For New York City during a community food distribution event. (Photo: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--As part of its ongoing work to address food insecurity in New York, the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation announced today a $450,000 grant for the Food Bank For New York City to launch a ‘Food as Medicine’ program. This initiative will support Food Bank For New York City’s work to screen patients for food insecurity during healthcare visits and connect them to on-site food assistance resources at healthcare facilities, community-based food pantries, and meal programs.

The ‘Food as Medicine’ program, a Feeding America® initiative funded by the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation, aims to screen between 2,000 and 3,000 patients over the next three years with the goal of improving food security and health outcomes. This phase of the program will help Food Bank For New York City and Empire BlueCross BlueShield enhance data collection, sharing, and analysis to better understand the needs of people facing hunger and deliver effective solutions.

Food Bank For New York City’s partnership with Empire BlueCross BlueShield will help us further our mission of ending hunger in our city,” said Leslie Gordon, President & Chief Executive Officer, Food Bank For New York City. “Thanks to this very generous $450,000 grant, we will be able to expand our reach to New York City’s most vulnerable residents.”

Today’s announcement kicks off Empire’s $2.2 million Food as Medicine Grant program directed to food banks across New York State. The $450,000 check was presented to Food Bank For New York City at a community food distribution event at Empire BlueCross BlueShield’s Sunset Park, Brooklyn Community Service Center at 5320 Fifth Avenue.

Everyone deserves access to nutritious, healthy food, and it remains Empire’s priority to support initiatives that reduce food insecurity and improve the whole health of our communities,” said Dr. Mark Levy, President, Empire BlueCross BlueShield HealthPlus. “Through our partnership with the Food Bank For New York City, we will continue to break down barriers and create innovative solutions that leave no one hungry or malnourished. Together, we’re working to cultivate a healthier, more equitable New York where everyone can thrive, reach their full potential, and enjoy a life of dignity and well-being.”

Food security and health are inextricably linked. The lack of access to nutritious foods can have serious, long-term effects on health and well-being, and it can make managing existing chronic conditions more difficult for people facing hunger. Food Bank For New York City, a member of the Feeding America network, is one of 21 food banks to receive funding from the foundation of Empire’s parent company. To learn more about Food Bank For New York City, visit

About Food Bank For New York City:

Since 1983, Food Bank For New York City has been focused on empowering every New Yorker with the right tools, resources and skills they need to achieve food security for good. Equipped with the unique perspective that comes with being for and of this city, our approach is designed to activate our growing network of food providers, partners, and volunteers to tackle the root causes of food insecurity across the five boroughs. Driven by our mission to empower every New Yorker to achieve food security for good, we harness the collective power of our network of food providers, partners, and volunteers to activate the right resources, supports, and expertise across the five boroughs. Our work with more than 800 soup kitchens, food pantries, and campus partners provides immediate and reliable access to food and nutrition education, while our economic empowerment programs give people the tools and know-how to improve their financial wellness. Community by community, we work together to make progress on a more hopeful, dignified, and equitable future for all.

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation:

The Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation, the trade name of the Elevance Health Foundation, serves residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. 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. Additionally, the Foundation also responds to disasters when our communities need us the most. The Foundation 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. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation and the Elevance Health Foundation, please visit and its blog at

About Feeding America:

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.


Michael Perry


Michael Perry