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Sentara, Truist launch emergency food support plan

Sentara Healthcare and Truist Financial Corp. announced last week a $1 million grant to launch the We Care COVID-19 Virginia Emergency Food Support Plan, a part of the Federation of Virginia Foodbanks.

This grant is designed to strengthen Virginia’s emergency food support system to provide meals and nourishment to families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Sentara Healthcare, with its health plan Optima Health, is contributing $500,000, while Truist has committed to giving the other $500,000. The $1 million investment will launch the program in Virginia while Sentara and the Federation of Virginia Foodbanks continue to seek other partners to participate.

“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,” said Howard P. Kern, president and CEO, Sentara Healthcare. “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.”

Virginia’s emergency food supply system of food banks and meal delivery services for their partner agencies are responding as quickly as possible during this crisis, a release said. However, they face a continuing decrease in volunteers, food supplies, and distribution partners.

“We are proud to support the We Care COVID-19 Virginia Emergency Food Support Plan,” said Dan O’Neill, Virginia-East regional president at Truist. “This program is designed to deliver reliable nourishment to the most vulnerable people in our neighborhoods throughout this difficult period.”

The We Care program centers around a five-day supply of nonperishable food. The care packages can be assembled and distributed through food distribution points, which are managed by Virginia’s seven regional food banks and their associated partners.