Chicago, 20 September 2022 The Elevance Health Foundation, the charitable arm of Elevance Health, Inc., announced a USD 14.1 million donation to Feeding America®, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the country, to support the continuation of the “Food as Medicine” program through 2025. To better understand the needs of hungry people and provide practical solutions, this program phase will assist more than 20 food banks that are members of Feeding America and health care partners in implementing improved data collecting, sharing, and analysis.
According to Mark Stephens, executive vice president of innovation at Feeding America:
“Almost 34 million individuals in America, including 9 million children, are food insecure. To better understand how we can assist neighbors in achieving better health outcomes while protecting their privacy and ensuring that each person has a respectful and seamless experience based on their specific needs, we are strengthening our evaluation efforts as we enter the third phase of the “Food as Medicine” program. The health care system and the charitable meal experience for neighbors are being transformed by this program, enhancing the wellbeing of those who are hungry. Through this program, patients with chronic illnesses can access nourishing foods that promote improved health.”
Health and food security are intricately intertwined. People who lack access to nourishing foods may experience substantial, long-term repercussions on their health and wellbeing, making managing pre-existing chronic diseases more challenging. 1 The “Food as Medicine” initiative will aid Feeding America member food banks as they work with healthcare partners to identify people who may be experiencing food insecurity during medical appointments. When a patient tests for food insecurity, health care partners will direct them to local food pantries and meal programs and options on-site at medical centers.
The program will give food banks and healthcare partners data gathering tools that will assist them in finding lessons learned and best practices to enable participants to have excellent health outcomes. While safeguarding patient privacy, food banks and healthcare partners will use the data for organizational strategy, operations, and program development to effectively assist neighbors who also experience food insecurity but have chronic health issues.
More about Feeding America:
Since 2004, the Elevance Health Foundation has funded Feeding America for the first two phases of the “Food as Medicine” program and supported hunger alleviation initiatives at food banks around the nation. This most recent three-year cooperation is an example of this. The Foundation has committed up to USD 30 million over the next three years to projects that promote health equity and support the use of food as medicine. The donation is a part of that commitment.
The largest hunger-relief organization in the US is called Feeding America®. We assisted in providing 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of individuals in need last year with a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank organizations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries, and meal programs. In addition, Feeding America raises awareness of the social and systemic barriers that lead to food insecurity in our country, supports initiatives that reduce food waste and enhance food security for the populations we serve, and fights for legislation that prevents people from going hungry.
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