“The economic crisis caused by the pandemic has led to devastating consequences for those who were already struggling. For many of our members, including one million Medicaid clients, food insecurity has always been an issue. COVID-19 has dramatically worsened the situation and laid bare how many of our neighbors lack the basic necessities to sustain a healthy life,” said Pat Wang, president and chief executive officer of Healthfirst. “Healthfirst will continue its commitment to addressing the nutrition needs of New Yorkers as part of our ongoing efforts to battle disparities and to help improve health outcomes in the communities we serve. We enthusiastically support the efforts of these wonderful organizations dedicated to combating food insecurity across the communities where our members live and work.”

World Central Kitchen uses the power of food to heal and strengthen communities through times of crisis and beyond, providing fresh meals to communities in immediate need while also keeping small restaurants and food businesses open. World Central Kitchen buys meals directly from restaurants and delivers them to people who need help.

“World Central Kitchen is grateful for Healthfirst’s support and belief in our mission,” said Fiona Donovan, Relief Operations Lead and NYC efforts lead. “They share our vision that a powerful solution to the ongoing health, economic, and humanitarian crises is to work with restaurants to prepare nutritious meals for food-insecure communities. Healthfirst’s donation will support the NYC community and contribute to WCK’s Restaurants for the People program, which pays restaurants directly to help keep their business afloat while also providing tens of thousands of meals to people in need.”

The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, with a mission that matches Healthfirst’s to serve those most vulnerable, has led the region’s health and human services delivery response to COVID-19 since early in the pandemic.

“At the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, we are immeasurably grateful for the support and partnership with Healthfirst,” said Rebecca Sanin, president and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island. “Thanks to Healthfirst, Long Islanders devastated by COVID-19 are receiving critical, needed support to help sustain their families during this difficult time. Healthfirst is committed to addressing the inequity that plagues the Long Island region and to making sure that the needs of those who are most vulnerable and have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 are prioritized.”

Feeding Westchester, at the heart of a network of more than 300 partners and programs, is the country’s leading nonprofit hunger relief organization.

“This holiday season presents an unprecedented set of challenges for many families and individuals right here in Westchester County. From those who are struggling to make the holidays special for their children, to seniors who are spending the holidays alone, the impact of hunger is pervasive in our community,” said Karen C. Erren, president & CEO of Feeding Westchester. “This generous donation from Healthfirst will help provide 150,000 meals to those in need throughout our communities.”

Healthfirst’s ongoing efforts to address food insecurity include joining forces with City Harvest and deploying resources to members to help them identify local resources. 

“As the pandemic started to hit our communities, Healthfirst employees contributed more than $20,000 to City Harvest, with whom we collaborated to offer “pop-up” food pantries in a series of zip codes with limited access to affordable and nutritious food,” said Errol Pierre, the senior vice president of State Programs at Healthfirst. “We also responded to the needs in the communities during COVID-19 by connecting members to resources and services through our relationship with NowPow, an online directory that includes more than 5,000 organizations offering 20,000 services in New York City and surrounding areas. The needs, especially for referrals for food and housing, continue to increase, and we are steadfast in the support of our community.”

Healthfirst also provided resources to expand NowPow’s directory to include more than 525 additional food pantries and services for Healthfirst members. In April, Healthfirst accelerated NowPow’s integration into the Healthfirst NY Mobile App, and more than 36,000 members to date have accessed the resource. Members can also access NowPow’s directory by contacting a sales representative through the Healthfirst Virtual Community Office or through the customer call center at 1-844-488-1486.

About Healthfirst

Healthfirst is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health insurers, earning the trust of more than 1.6 million members by ensuring access to affordable and high-quality healthcare. Sponsored by downstate New York’s leading hospital systems, Healthfirst’s unique advantage is rooted in its mission to put members first by partnering closely with its broad network of providers on shared goals. Healthfirst is also a pioneer of the value-based care model, now recognized as a national best practice. For nearly 30 years, Healthfirst has built its reputation in the community for top-quality products and services New Yorkers can depend on. It offers market-leading products to fit every life stage, including Medicaid plans, Medicare Advantage plans, Long-Term Care plans, Qualified Health plans, and individual and small group plans. Healthfirst serves members in New York City and on Long Island, as well as in Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, and Orange counties. For more information on Healthfirst, please visit healthfirst.org. 

About World Central Kitchen

Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) uses the power of food to heal communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. WCK has created a new model for disaster response through its work helping devastated communities recover and establish resilient food systems. WCK has served more than 50 million fresh meals to people impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world in countries including The Bahamas, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mozambique, Venezuela, and the United States. WCK’s Resilience Programs in the Caribbean and Central America have trained hundreds of chefs and school cooks, advanced clean cooking practices, and awarded grants to farms, fisheries and small food businesses while also providing training and networking opportunities. Learn more at wck.org.

About the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island

The mission of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI) is to serve the poor and vulnerable people on Long Island by convening, representing, and supporting the organizations that serve them; and through illuminating the issues that critically impact them; organizing community and regional responses to their needs; advocacy; research; policy analysis and providing services, information, and education. Since 1947, HWCLI has served as the umbrella for health and human service agencies serving Long Island’s families. As a regional human service provider, convener, and leader with a 200 organization network, HWCLI responds to Long Island’s needs through direct services and advocacy.

About Feeding Westchester

Feeding Westchester is the county’s leading nonprofit hunger-relief organization at the heart of a network of nearly 300 partners and programs. With a mission to end hunger in Westchester County, the organization sources and distributes good, nutritious food and other resources to every community in Westchester – from Mount Vernon to Mohegan Lake. In the last year, Feeding Westchester delivered more than 20.4 million pounds of food or 17 million meals to our neighbors through soup kitchens, food pantries, schools, shelters, residential programs, and mobile distributions. For more information call (914) 923-1100 or visit feedingwestchester.org. For the latest news and updates, follow @FeedingWestchester on Facebook and Instagram and @FeedWestchester on Twitter.

Photos and video available upon request.

Elise Titan
[email protected]

SOURCE Healthfirst

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