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Herkimer County HealthNet is the recipient of a $5,000 Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Health and Wellness Award

Herkimer County HealthNet is the recipient of a $5,000 Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Health and Wellness Award. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Health and Wellness awards focus on community investments to support programs and initiatives that improve health and health outcomes for community members and help them live healthier and more secure lives. The funds will contribute to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Herkimer County Veggie Van program that will deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to communities in the Herkimer County area.

According to a report released last month by the New York State Department of Health, Herkimer County has the highest percentage of adults who experience food insecurity (28.8%) outside of New York City. Adults who experience food insecurity have a higher probability of several chronic diseases, including hypertension, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, asthma, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

“We are thankful to Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for their funding and support of the Veggie Van. Creative solutions are necessary to ensure our most vulnerable community members have access to quality nutrition,” said Elyse Enea, Executive Director of Herkimer County HealthNet. “Our goal for this program is to reduce food insecurity in Herkimer County, make fresh produce accessible, and provide a space for educational opportunities.”

“Impacting the communities we serve by supporting programs that combat food insecurity is core to our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Eve Van de Wal, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield regional president. “We are proud to help provide funding for the Veggie Van program because it helps provide essential, healthy nutrition to the people of Herkimer County.”

“This support from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will enable us to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities in Herkimer County this growing season. It will also help build business for our region’s farmers who are growing healthy produce that is not available to many of our residents. Additionally, the Veggie Van will bring university developed nutrition programs to these sites through Cornell’s FMNP and SNAP-Ed programs so that our families know how to make the most of their food dollars. We are thankful for our partnership with Herkimer County HealthNet that makes this all possible,” states Garet Livermore, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Herkimer County, Executive Director.

The Veggie Van addresses food security, promotes equitable food access, and will work toward a sustainable and diverse local food system.

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