Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Provides Food Grant to Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, Inc.

Posted by Claudia Whitmire in CAPC News

Now more than ever, with rising unemployment, summer camps, and daycares closed, and the many other disruptions to normal life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are turning to food pantries for much-needed help. To assist in these trying times, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently provided Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, Inc. financial support in the amount of $20,000 to help the organization meet the increasing demands of the community. 

“Feeding people facing hunger is about more than simply providing food. It’s about providing wellness, stability, and nourishment. We are humbled by, and proud to support, the extraordinarily impactful work of Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, Inc.” said Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Regional President Eve Van de Wal.

Food pantries across the state are helping families put healthy meals on the table, obtain personal care items, baby food, diapers and household cleaning supplies, and access fresh food items such as meat, cheese, eggs and produce.

“The result of the pandemic has greatly impacted the number of local individuals who were served through Community Action programs. For example, from January 2019 to June 2019, we distributed 70,560 meals thru our food pantry. During the same time frame in 2020, we distributed 114,198 meals. This is a 62% increase! This donation will ease the burdens of many families who are struggling in our community” said Community Action Planning Council Deputy Director Claudia Whitmire.

Studies have shown that individuals struggling with food insecurity face more difficulties managing their health—including greater risk for chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease—leading to more health complications, frequent emergency room visits, and hospital stays, which ultimately lead to higher health care costs.

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, 37 million people in the US struggled to find enough to eat, according to Feeding America. People who have not previously relied on food relief are now struggling and in need, causing a substantial strain on food supplies. Excellus BCBS has partnered with multiple food banks and food pantries across the state to effectively address food insecurity and other community social needs for several years and now seeks to help even more.

“This financial support demonstrates our corporate commitment to support local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Van de Wal. “We’ve been serving residents of upstate New York for more than 80 years, and we will continue to work with agencies that seek to enhance the quality of life, including health status, in this region.”

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