Health Care Service Corporation Teams Up with Feeding America to Combat Food Insecurity Through Focused, Whole-Person Approach
October 30, 2018
Community health and nutrition programs will build on HCSC’s longstanding efforts to help members and communities be at their best
CHICAGO (Oct. 30, 2018) – The nation’s largest customer-owned health insurer, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), is joining forces with Feeding America®, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, to address the complex and often overlapping challenges that increase families’ risk of food insecurity, the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Through a $1.2 million grant to Feeding America over two years across its five health plan states, including Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, a whole-person approach will empower families with employment skills training and the knowledge to sustain healthy eating behaviors.
HCSC selected 26 food banks across its five local health plans to implement Feeding America’s nutrition education and intervention strategies, including:
- Nudges in food pantries: recommended on-site changes, such as placing fresh produce, dairy and protein in areas with high-visibility near the entrance and using signage to encourage healthy selection;
- Community kitchens: 10- to 16-week culinary job training programs that prepare adults in-need for jobs in the food service industry; and
- Nutrition policy: nutrition guidelines that help food pantries identify healthful foods and beverages as they shift toward nutrition-focused food banking.
“We have a big part to play in connecting people not just with access to affordable health care, but to the foundational resources they need to improve their well-being,” said Joel Farran, senior vice president and chief brand officer, HCSC. “Through our work with Feeding America, our health plans can reach deeper into our communities with localized programs that provide access to nutritious food and confront the limited employment opportunities, gaps in education and chronic health issues that often go hand-in-hand with food insecurity.”
HCSC’s collaboration with Feeding America aligns with Affordability Cures,SM the company’s endeavor to address the root causes of the high-cost health care system and support healthy communities. Families facing food insecurity often experience stress, limited income and diet-related chronic illness, which negatively affects health. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 40 million people are food insecure.1 Feeding America’s 2018 Map the Meal Gap research demonstrates that in counties with high food insecurity, one in eight people have diabetes and one in three people experience obesity.2
Through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative to promote healthy, active and safe communities, HCSC has supported local food banks for nearly 10 years, distributing more than 2 million pounds of food in 2017 alone. Its work with Feeding America will centralize and refocus these efforts on proven strategies that increase access to and consumption of nutritious foods.
“Food insecurity and underlying drivers and results exist in every county across the country,” said Matt Knott, President of Feeding America. “Through localized programs that help people be at their best – body, mind and spirit – Health Care Service Corporation is helping to identify people who may be food insecure and connect them to critical resources to promote good nutrition and combat hunger.”
Read more about HCSC’s longstanding support of food sources and other community initiatives in its 2017 Social Responsibility Report. To learn more about HCSC’s Affordability Cures endeavor, please visit www.affordabilitycures.com/. For more information on Feeding America, please visit www.feedingamerica.org.
1USDA ‘Household Food Security in the United States in 2017.’ ers.usda.gov
2Feeding America. “Health Implications of Food Insecurity.” Map the Meal Gap, 2018, map.feedingamerica.org