Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently awarded Little Falls Community Outreach LLC a Community Health Award of $1,000 to support their food backpack program. This program provides backpacks filled with food to area children and their families who are experiencing food insecurity.
“We believe that the community is only healthy and strong when all its residents are healthy and strong,” explained Little Falls Community Outreach Executive Director Tamara Razzano. The program provides meals seven days a week throughout the school year as well as during the summer months. Included among the food items are fresh vegetables from the First Presbyterian Church Community Garden.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an even greater need within the community. “Food from our backpack program is sometimes the only food in their homes,” stated Razzano. “We deliver food directly to the students, avoiding any stigma associated with food insecurity.”
Little Falls Community Outreach strives to serve the needs of the community by providing resources, programs, and engagement. It operates several programs including Banana Splits, tutoring, senior lunch and learns, and the Rainbow Club.
Through a competitive application process, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards help fund programs that improve the health or health care of a specific population, programs that aim to improve the health status of the community, closes the gaps in health disparities, reduces the incidence of specific diseases, promotes health education and assists our communities in dealing with COVID-19.
“The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to support local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Eve Van de Wal, Utica regional president of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “We recognize that the pandemic has created an even greater need for programs such as the food backpack program that address social issues that impact the health and wellbeing of our communities.”
Photo: From left, Shayna Keller, Excellus BCBS community investments and partnerships manager; Gail Huber Rochette, Little Falls Community Outreach program coordinator; Tamara Razzano, Little Falls Community Outreach executive director; Eve Van de Wal, Excellus BCBS regional president.