Univera Healthcare’s COVID-19 response includes major donations to FeedMore WNY Foundation and other food banks

Univera Healthcare and its Rochester-based parent health plan provided $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. That includes a $50,000 donation to the FeedMore WNY Foundation, directed through the WNY COVID Crisis Fund.

“Hunger is a pervasive problem in Western New York, and the COVID-19 health crisis has only exacerbated the need for food assistance in our community. In fact, as many as one in six individuals may be at risk of hunger in 2020 throughout FeedMore WNY’s service area. We are grateful for this generous donation from Univera Healthcare, which will allow us to purchase nutritious food for vulnerable children, families, veterans and older adults in our community,” Tara A. Ellis, president and CEO of FeedMore WNY, said. “We also appreciate Univera’s thoughtful donation of 1,000 reusable bags to help our neighbors in need safely transport wholesome food home from our partner pantries and mobile distributions.”

“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 Univera Healthcare President Art Wingerter. “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.”

Food is the most basic of all needs. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, nearly 14 percent of New York households struggled with hunger, and at least 1 million New York children lived in households that did not have regular and consistent access to food, according to the New York State Anti-Hunger Task Force. Over the last few months, as New York State’s unemployment rate increased, the ability for many families to regularly have food on the table was compromised. Local food banks and pantries are straining to meet the new demand.

This donation to food banks is part of a larger commitment by Univera and its parent health plan to spend more than $162 million this year 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 Wingerter. “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.theuniveradifference.com/covid19.