JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Florida Blue Foundation, the philanthropic affiliate for the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, announced it is awarding $3.3 million in grants to nine community-based programs across the state to improve access to healthy food in food deserts and other rural communities where Floridians have limited access to affordable, healthy food options.
The latest funding brings the total investment in food security programs from Florida Blue Foundation to more than $14.5 million over the last four years.
“We know that hunger and malnutrition can have detrimental impacts on people’s health and well-being,” said GuideWell and Florida Blue President and CEO Pat Geraghty. “Supporting organizations that improve access to affordable, healthy food allows us better serve our communities and provide people with more opportunities to live a healthy life.”
The nine nonprofit organizations receiving the funding from the Florida Blue Foundation will use the grants for community-based food security initiatives that not only provide access to nutritional food but address obstacles to food security in their communities.
“By supporting programs that make healthy food more accessible and affordable in communities across our state, the Florida Blue Foundation and our partners are meaningfully improving the health and well-being of children, families, and communities,” said Susan Towler, executive director of Florida Blue Foundation.
The nine organizations receiving grants:
- FBH Community, Inc (Volusia County) – The FBH Community plans to provide fresh fruits and vegetable boxes and host health fairs for people living in Midtown, Daytona, a food desert that has also been identified as one of Florida’s poorest ZIP codes.
- Police Athletic League of Jacksonville (Duval County) – The families of the children in PAL’s educational programs, will receive fresh produce delivered to their homes as well as nutrition education to teach families how to cook and prepare fresh produce.
- UCOM UrbanServ, Inc. (Duval County) – This program provides meal deliveries to older adults with limited or no access to transportation. The grant will allow the organization to expand the program by adding more healthy choices as well as education and support to ensure the food is easy to prepare.
- Regional Food Bank of Northeast Florida, Inc. – Feeding Northeast Florida (Duval County) – The Mobile Market Program brings healthy food to residents in food insecure areas, allowing them to choose their own healthy foods right in their own neighborhood.
- United Against Poverty (Indian River County) – United Against Poverty will expand its grocery program by adding refrigerated trucks, which will allow the program to expand its reach and distribution throughout the south and central regions of the state.
- Chapman Partnership, Inc. (Miami-Dade County) – Through Chapman Partnership and Feeding South Florida, the Healthy You program will provide nutrition education as well as hot meals, healthy snacks and food vouchers to men, women and children experiencing homelessness.
- Treasure Coast Food Bank Incorporated (St. Lucie County) – Market Fresh on the Move is a mobile grocery store on wheels that serves low-income families living in food deserts and food insecure communities.
- Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, Inc. (Lee County) – Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Mobile Market Program directly serves those in a five-county area who are food-insecure and face transportation barriers through a mobile, refrigerated, one-aisle grocery store.
- Well Incorporated (Hillsborough County) – In partnership with the Coalition of Community Gardens, the Well will expand its program into the university area. The program trains community members on how to build home gardens, and host community events designed to distribute food, and educate neighbors on food production, and healthy meal preparation.
The latest investments come as Florida Blue Foundation continues to build on a multi-year initiative around food security solutions, which includes strengthening food infrastructure and systems across Florida; promoting direct service for families for healthy food access; and working with partner organizations throughout the state.
Since 2020, Florida Blue Foundation’s food security grantees have provided over 181 million meals to Floridians experiencing food insecurity.
About Florida Blue Foundation
Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions and embracing solutions that create a meaningful impact in our communities. More than 8 million Floridians have received services as a result of our community investments since our founding in 2001. Florida Blue Foundation is committed to improve health equity by impacting food security, advancing mental well-being, growing healthy communities, and addressing health disparities. Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit www.FloridaBlueFoundation.com.