It is very difficult to stay healthy when you're also hungry.
As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens countless people and families not only in the Pacific Northwest, but across the world, it’s important to remember those most in need. Restaurants are closed. Braving the grocery store is an increasingly delicate task. For many, finding their next meal is oftentimes dependent on the support of local nonprofits and food pantries. While the call for social distancing is the right one—and a vital step toward returning to normalcy—it unfortunately strengthens the barriers to food access, leaving vulnerable people feeling more isolated and unsure.
In troubling times like these, Regence Health Plans knows it’s more important than ever to keep people fed to support their wellbeing. To that end, the healthcare provider, along with its corporate foundation, is bolstering the fight against the virus by implementing new investments of more than $550,000, which will boost food assistance and reinforce financial safety nets in the communities where we live and work.
Across Idaho, Utah, Washington, and Oregon, Regence will fully match employee donations (up to $100,000) at designated partners. One of these groups, Oregon Food Bank, provides nutrition to more than 860,000 people a year—a number that’s expected to skyrocket by the tens of thousands during this public health crisis. To meet this surge head on, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield is committing an additional $50,000 to keep OFB’s shelves stocked. If you are interested in making your own contributions, visit FeedingAmerica.org to find and give to your local food bank.
For true examples of heroism, look no further than the health care workers—doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and especially hospital cleaning staff—who are caring for patients affected by COVID-19 and struggling to maintain germ-free environments. While these service providers spend long hours away battling the disease, Regence wants to have their backs by allocating funds to address urgent and immediate needs on the home front, through identified partners, such as Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Ride Connection, and NeighborCare Health.
As greater challenges arise in the region, Regence is poised to overcome them. “We are proud to support the work of organizations on the front lines, and to evolve our grant-making in relationship with our partners as new needs become clear,” said Peggy Maguire, president of Regence’s corporate foundation and Corporate Social Responsibility. “I want to recognize and thank the health care and support services providers who are providing essential services during these challenging and uncertain times. Now is the time for all of us to lean in and take care of one another.”
An additional $300,000 will form shared COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funds in Regence’s four-state footprint, supporting community-based organizations’ ability to quickly distribute funds directly to those most at risk and focus on health and safety issues as they develop.
Regence understands that when it comes to defeating the novel coronavirus, we may be in it for the long haul, but we don’t have to go it alone. To better prepare for the months of uncertainty that lie ahead, Regence will allot additional strategic funding to address pressing needs in the community, while also striving to predict future demands that will stem from the long-term and socio-economic effects of the virus. To find out more about these efforts and member support, go to regence.com/go/covid-19.