Sentara and Truist partner to donate $1M to food support system in Virginia during COVID-19 crisis


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HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Sentara Healthcare and Truist Financial are teaming up to donate $1 million to an innovative emergency food support system in Virginia during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many people have found themselves food insecure due to the loss of income brought on by government and business closures during the COVID-19 crisis. The new program — called the We Care COVID-19 Virginia Emergency Food Support Plan — will supply food distribution points across the state with nourishing meals to provide to Virginians in need, according to a news release.

The program will create care packages that provide recipients with five days worth of nourishing food. The care packages will be distributed across the state by regional food banks and the organizations they partner with, the news release states.

“The We Care program is a game-changer in our collective efforts to address Virginia’s food needs during this dual health and economic crisis,” Eddie Oliver, executive director of the Federation of Virginia Foodbanks, wrote in a news release. “This emergency food package can be easily mass produced and distributed to vulnerable, food insecure communities without placing additional stress on each food bank’s staff and volunteer force.”

Sentara and its health plan, Optima Health, will donate $500,000 to the emergency food support system. Truist will match that donation with an additional $500,000, according to a news release.

“While Sentara remains focused on caring for our patients and health plan members as well as supporting our staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, we also recognize that many in our communities across Virginia are struggling with unmet needs such as a lack of food during this unprecedented crisis,” Howard P. Kern, president and CEO, Sentara Healthcare, wrote in a news release. “We sincerely hope this program will encourage other organizations to join us in this statewide initiative to provide meaningful solutions for our communities during this global pandemic.”

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