CareSource and UnitedHealthcare support Southeast Ohio Foodbank

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2022

Donation is $100,000

LOGAN – A collaboration between CareSource and UnitedHealthcare, two Ohio Medicaid managed care organizations, will support the SE Ohio Foodbank as demand for food assistance rises.

The $100,000 donation will provide emergency food support through direct distributions in Jackson, Lawrence, Gallia and Washington counties. Record low inventory forced the foodbank to pause direct distributions earlier this summer. The funds will also support the foodbank’s pantry network in their 10-county service area.

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Since January, demand at the Southeast Ohio Foodbank has jumped by 60 percent as families struggle to cope with rising costs for necessities like gas and groceries. The increase comes as the foodbank faces supply chain issues, food shortages, and the end of additional COVID-19 assistance that has left inventory at its lowest levels in years.

“CareSource recognizes the people most greatly affected by inflation are those already struggling to make ends meet,” Steve Ringel, president of CareSource Ohio, said. “We are grateful for organizations like HAPCAP and are proud to collaborate with UnitedHealthcare to reinvest in the community through financial and volunteer support of the Southeast Ohio Foodbank.”

“We know 80 percent of what impacts an individual’s health happens outside of the doctor’s office and that is why it is critical that we support organizations like HAPCAP to increase access to necessities like affordable healthy food,” Scott Waulters, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio, said. “We hope that this collaboration with CareSource Ohio and the SE Ohio Foodbank will help build capacity resulting in healthier communities.”

The joint donation results from an understanding of negative health consequences that commonly accompany food insecurity and an acknowledgment of the scale of the issue for the region. The counties the SE Ohio Foodbank serves face an average food insecurity rate of 16.17 percent, according to Feeding America’s Mind the Meal Gap, more than five points higher than the Ohio average.

“We’re very grateful for the support from CareSource and UnitedHealthcare. We know that food insecurity undermines the health of individuals and communities we serve,” Kelly Hatas, executive director of HAPCAP, said. “We need strong partnerships with those who are also committed to improving the health of our region to solve this issue.”