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Aetna Better Health of West Virginia Provides Support for COVID-19 Hunger Relief Initiatives

Facing Hunger Foodbank and Mountaineer Food Bank Receive Funds to Help West Virginians in Need

CHARLESTON, West Virginia – Two West Virginia food banks have received a combined $45,000 from Aetna Better Health of West Virginia as part of the Medicaid organization’s efforts to address food insecurity and other community needs in response to the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing Hunger Foodbank and Mountaineer Food Bank will use the funds to assist West Virginians in need of emergency hunger relief with food boxes and additional food deliveries. The funds will provide 337,500 meals to those in need throughout West Virginia.

“We have longstanding partnerships with Facing Hunger and Mountaineer food banks and are pleased to provide this assistance during such a critical time,” said Todd White, CEO, Aetna Better Health of West Virginia. “These funds will allow for additional food supplies to be secured and distributed to those most in need across our great state.”

For more than seven years Aetna Better Health of West Virginia has collaborated with the food banks to help those most in need access healthy food through mobile food pantries and other community events. As part of its commitment to bring attention to the issue of food insecurity, for the past two years, Aetna Better Health of West Virginia has sponsored “Hunger Free WV Day,” an annual event that takes place at the state legislature.

“The team from Aetna Better Health of West Virginia was amongst the first to call and ask us ‘What can we do to help?’,” said Cynthia Kirkhart, Executive Director, Facing Hunger Food Bank. “As we know, the food we provide has many implications on the health and well-being of our brothers and sisters throughout the state; the absence of food during a crisis makes even the most vulnerable we serve even more so. Through this generous donation, senior citizens, children, homeless individuals, and those suffering with illness will continue to be able to access the food they need during this difficult time.”

“Mountaineer Food Bank is incredibly thankful to have additional support from Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, as we prepare for an increase in demand for assistance,” said Chad Morrison, Executive Director, Mountaineer Food Bank. “We know that families, individuals, and children are facing uncertainty right now, and we’re prepared to lend a helping hand to those in need.”

“Aetna Better Health is happy to offer support to our dedicated community partners during this crisis,” said Jim Smallridge, RN, Manager, Community Development, Aetna Better Health of West Virginia. “We applaud their continued efforts to fight food insecurity in our state; especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

West Virginians in need of food may visit http://www.wv211.org/ or dial 2-1-1 for more information about how they can receive emergency food boxes or other food items from Mountaineer Food Bank and Facing Hunger Foodbank.