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Excellus BCBS COVID-19 response includes major donations to food banks

UTICA — Excellus BlueCross BlueShield 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 and its impact on the economy,” said Excellus BCBS Regional President Eve Van de Wal. “A growing number of people in our community are facing food insecurity. Good health begins with good food. We saw an opportunity to help by supporting food banks and food pantries that are under pressure because of the increased need in our communities.”

The $600,000 donation from Excellus BCBS will support food banks and food pantries across the nonprofit health insurer’s 39-county upstate New York service area. In the Utica/North Country region, that includes $80,000 to support six organizations in their efforts to provide food for people in need, including:

• Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties, Inc. — $15,000

• St. Lawrence County Community Development Program — $20,000

• Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County–$20,000

• Cooperstown Food Pantry: Otsego County — $7,500

• Lewis County Opportunities, Inc. –$7,500

• Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, Delaware: Essex, Fulton, Hamilton and Montgomery Counties – $10,000

An additional $170,000 will be provided to support the Food Bank of Central New York, of which $65,000 be used in Oneida, Madison and Herkimer counties in its efforts to provide food for people in need.

“We are thrilled to partner with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield,” said Karen Belcher, interim executive director at Food Bank of Central New York. “Their support will help us provide nutritious food to more than 159,000 individuals throughout these eight counties.”

This donation to food banks 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.

“We are a nonprofit health insurer with 3,500 employees who call upstate New York home,” said Van de Wal. “Improving the health and quality of life of our communities is what we’re all about.”

For the latest information on the health plan’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit https://www.chooseexcellus.com/covid19.

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