Few states have experienced greater challenges to food access than Florida in recent years. Supply chain issues, soaring costs, hurricanes, and the worst drought in more than a decade have put a strain on families already struggling with food insecurity.
According to Feeding America, 1 in 9 Floridians face hunger, including 1 in 7 children. A lack of healthy foods can lead to obesity, depression, anxiety, and overall bad health. The end of the COVID-19 public health emergency complicated the issue with the rolling back of SNAP food benefits.
Committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves, The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in collaboration with Molina Healthcare of Florida (“Molina”), donated over $100,000 to local food distribution events and mobile grocery stores over the last year, in addition to providing employee volunteers to help with food distribution. Results show MolinaCares has had a measurable impact.
Farm Share – More than 2,000 Families Directly Served at Event, Thousands of Pounds of Food Transported
Through a $30,000 sponsorship from MolinaCares, Farm Share provided food and supplies to over 2,000 families in Florida. Molina also sponsored a truck capable of hauling 5 million pounds of food every year and serving 750,000 people. The food hauled by the sponsored truck comes from local Florida farms and is delivered to communities in need throughout the state.
Harry Chapin Food Bank – 8,000 Floridians Served
Two separate MolinaCares grants totaling $35,000 enabled Harry Chapin Food Bank to serve approximately 8,000 individuals in southwest Florida. An initial $10,000 grant helped the food bank to distribute more than 8,000 pounds of food, which is the equivalent of nearly 7,000 meals. The funding also saved food that would otherwise go to waste from retail and grocery stores, national and local food providers, and farms.
One patron, an 85-year-old woman named Alice from Clewiston, lives alone with her Social Security as her only income. Every other Tuesday, Alice rides with a friend to Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Fulfill Mobile Pantry Program drive-thru distribution site at John Boy Auditorium. There, she receives a pre-packaged food kit filled with a variety of items. This food helps Alice with her monthly needs, ensuring that she doesn’t go hungry. “It’s really hard and this food is a lifesaver,” she said.
Reach St. Pete – 4,000 Floridians Served
Through a $42,000 donation, Molina helped the Reach St. Pete mobile grocery store, the Pop-Up Pantry, serve over 4,000 individuals in Pinellas County. Not only has this effort helped ensure households don’t have to skip meals, but it gives them access to fresh produce like fruits, vegetables, and organics they may not normally be able to afford.
The additional funding allows families to shop at the Pop-Up Pantry twice each month, so they can use their income for other necessities.
One shopper said, “My only comment or feedback for you all is, ‘thank you’. You saw I had three kids with me, and grocery shopping is something that has been giving me anxiety because we can’t afford them. Now the girls look forward to coming to the bus because it’s fun in there and is so clean.”