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United Health Foundation Pledges $1M Amid COVID-19 Emergency

Partnership with the Food Bank of South Jersey is part of initial $50 million commitment from UnitedHealth Group to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities

The United Health Foundation has committed $1 million to provide urgent assistance to New Jersey residents experiencing food insecurity as they face unprecedented hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership with the Food Bank of South Jersey is part of UnitedHealth Group’s previously announced initial $50 million commitment to fight COVID-19 and support those most directly impacted, including health care workers, hard-hit communities, seniors and people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.

“The COVID-19 public health emergency has compounded the many challenges faced by New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents, such as those experiencing hunger or food insecurity,” said Charles Wayland, chief executive officer, UnitedHealthcare Community & State, New Jersey. “Our partnership with the Food Bank of South Jersey will provide critical aid to those who need it most.”

The $1 million grant to the Food Bank of South Jersey will provide support for additional staff to prepare emergency food bags and boxes to deliver in underserved communities, provide two weeks’ worth of food supplies for seniors and deliver them to senior housing facilities, and supply additional resources and support to local food banks in southern New Jersey.

“Our mission is to provide an immediate solution to the urgent problem of hunger by providing food to people in need, teaching them to eat nutritiously and helping them find sustainable ways to improve their lives. We have recently experienced a 200% increase in need across our 185 agencies in four counties,” said Fred C. Wasiak, president and chief executive officer, Food Bank of South Jersey. “Our partnership with the United Health Foundation will enable us to expand our reach and better meet the needs of our communities during this crisis.”

UnitedHealth Group, including UnitedHealthcare, Optum and the United Health Foundation, has a long history of addressing food insecurity — a key determinant of health among vulnerable populations in New Jersey and across the country. The United Health Foundation recently announced $5 million in national partnerships with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, the Feeding America network of member food banks, and Meals on Wheels America as part of its commitment to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities.

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