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null Univera’s COVID-19 response includes major donations to food banks

Univera’s COVID-19 response includes major donations to food banks

For Immediate Release:  2020-07-16

Contact:  Peter Kates, (716) 857-4485

Univera Healthcare and its Rochester-based parent health plan are providing $600,000 in financial support to food banks and food pantries across upstate New York as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The ability to earn a paycheck and feed a family are at risk for many people because of the coronavirus and its impact on the economy,” said Univera Healthcare President Art Wingerter. “A growing number of people in our community are facing food insecurity. Good health begins with good food. We saw an opportunity to help by supporting food banks and food pantries that are under pressure because of the increased need in our communities.”  

The $600,000 donation from Univera and its parent will support food banks and food pantries across the nonprofit health insurer’s 39 county upstate New York service area. In Western New York, that includes $100,000 to support six organizations in their efforts to provide food for people in need.

FeedMore Foundation (via WNY COVID Crisis Fund) – $50,000
Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties 

African Heritage Food Co-Op - $10,000.
Erie and Niagara Counties

Gerard Place - $10,000.
Erie County

St. Luke's Mission - $10,000.
Erie County

Salvation Army of Jamestown - $10,000.
Chautauqua County

Evergreen Health Food Pantry - $5,000.
Chautauqua County

Chautauqua County Crisis Services - $5,000. 
Chautauqua County

“The funding from Univera gives us the ability to provide two meals a day for those affected by this pandemic,” said Amy Betros, co-founder and co-director of St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy in Buffalo. 

Food is the most basic of all needs. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, nearly 14 percent of New York households struggled with hunger, and at least 1 million New York children lived in households that did not have regular and consistent access to food, according to the New York State Anti-Hunger Task Force. Over the last few months, as New York State’s unemployment rate increased, the ability for many families to regularly have food on the table was compromised. Local food banks and pantries are straining to meet the new demand.  

“Food distribution has become the central part of our mission this year and we appreciate Univera Healthcare and our other corporate partners that care so much for our community,” said David Zapfel, President and CEO of Gerard Place. 

This donation to food banks is part of a larger commitment by Univera and its parent health plan to spend more than $162 million to help its members, health care providers and communities respond to the pandemic. 

“We are a nonprofit health insurer with 3,500 employees who call upstate New York home,” said Wingerter. “Improving the health and quality of life of our communities is what we’re all about.”  

For the latest information on the health plan’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit 

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Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves members across the eight counties of Western New York. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With nearly 500 employees in Western New York, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit

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