- Florida Blue, through its charity foundation, invested nearly $4 million on Wednesday in a collection of local community-based programs combating food insecurity in Florida
- 10 non-profits received funds to expand and strengthen ongoing efforts that include free food delivery services, food pantries, and local gardens, among others
- Wednesday’s funding brings the total investment in food security programs from Florida Blue to more than $16 million since 2018.
Florida Blue, a leading health insurance provider within the state, invested $3.73 million in grants on Wednesday to community-based programs through its Florida Blue Foundation.
The 10 nonprofit organizations receiving the latest round of funding from the Florida Blue Foundation will use the grants to strengthen localized food security initiatives and address obstacles to food security in their communities.
The latest funding brings the total investment in food security programs from Florida Blue and its Foundation to more than $16 million over the last four years.
“Healthy communities need healthy food. When people don’t have enough food or must choose inexpensive foods with little nutritional value, it can seriously impact their health and well-being. Each year, more than $4.2 billion in health care costs are associated with food insecurity in our state,” said Pat Geraghty, Florida Blue president and CEO. “The rising cost of food has only made this issue worse for our state. Florida Blue is focused on ensuring every person in Florida has reliable and affordable access to nutritious food and the knowledge of how to make it an enjoyable part of their daily lives.”
Grant recipient objectives include building a countywide framework that utilizes the county Department of Health’s partnership network to improve nutrition and food security throughout the county (Indian River County Department of Health), providing access to food and nutrition education to working, food insecure individuals in the Big Bend region (Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Foundation), and expanding access to healthy and nutritious food through free mobile food markets in food insecure communities (University Area Community Development Corporation), among others.
Each grant recipient was awarded between $320,000 and $400,000.
“Food insecurity is a highly complex issue. Each community’s relationship and access to food is unique,” said executive director of the Florida Blue Foundation Susan Towler. “These Florida Blue Foundation grants will fund programs that directly improve access to and quality of food security for people at the neighborhood level, particularly in communities with underserved, racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income populations. We selected these 10 organizations because we believe they can make a meaningful and lasting impact in their communities.”
More than 3.1 million Floridians struggle to afford nutritious food, and about one in five children, or more than 900,000 in the state lack proper nutrition, according to a study by the Feeding America network.
Vast racial and ethnic disparities are also rampant. The prevalence of food insecurity among Black and Hispanic households is more than two times greater than non-Hispanic white households, according to a report published by Florida TaxWatch.
Further, a CDC study states that more than $4.2 billion in healthcare costs are associated with food insecurity each year.