Sentara, Truist launch emergency meals program with state
Va. sent $1.4M in CARES Act funding to We Care initiative
As Feeding America projects that more than 1 million Virginians will face food insecurity this year, Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare, Optima Health and Truist Financial Corp., along with the state government, launched the “We Care” COVID-19 Virginia Emergency Fund Support Plan to provide free meals to families during the pandemic.
The state committed $1.4 million of its federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the initiative, and Sentara and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Truist each committed $500,000.
“Sentara is committed to addressing health disparities in the communities we serve,” Sentara President and CEO Howard Kern said in a statement. “We are honored to partner with the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, Truist and the commonwealth as we embark on this important plan to address the impacts of food insecurity on our fellow Virginians.”
Other businesses and organizations, including Humana, Northern Neck Virginia Insurance, CVS Health/Aetna, the Wawa Foundation and Tito’s Vodka, brought the total funding to $2.6 million.
”People are hurting right now, and the commonwealth intends to be part of the solution to make sure people have access to the food the need,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “In America, we take care of each other in tough times, and I’m grateful to the community partners who are stepping up.”
In total, the We Care initiative is anticipated to support the distribution of approximately 100,000 boxes of food. The 20-pound boxes are filled with a five-day food supply, which will be distributed by the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.
“We are pleased to witness such an outpouring of advocacy through the ‘We Care’ initiative, and as a result, look forward to distributing healthy, nutritious meals to our neighbors in need,” Ruth Jones Nichols, president and CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, said in a statement. “This public-private partnership is truly demonstrative of our belief that, ‘together, we can solve hunger.’”