Every single day, we’re floored by news of businesses and organizations doing what they can to support our community. Today, Florida Blue, the state’s leading health insurer, announced its contributing $100,000 worth 500,000 meals to assist Tampa Bay residents struggling due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
The contribution to Feeding Tampa Bay is part of a $2 million initial investment Florida Blue is making to address urgent health and safety needs across the state as a result of the crisis.
Working to eliminate hunger in Tampa Bay by 2025
“Florida Blue is collaborating with leaders and organizations across Tampa Bay to address critical needs facing our neighbors. Feeding Tampa Bay is an essential lifeline to tens of thousands in our community who suddenly find themselves out of work due to the COVID-19 health crisis,” said David Pizzo, Florida Blue’s West Florida market president. “We felt it was imperative to expand our current partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay to help them provide meals to seniors, children and individuals in need right now.”
In early 2020, Florida Blue announced it would provide $750,000 in grants to Feeding Tampa Bay to launch three new initiatives to eliminate hunger in Tampa Bay by 2025.
“Florida Blue’s partnership and ongoing support has paved the way for Feeding Tampa Bay in many of our strategic efforts to create a hunger-free Tampa Bay. And now, when we’re in a crisis and all of our focus is on providing crucial food and supplies to the increasing number of people in our community who need it, we’re grateful for Florida Blue’s unwavering commitment yet again,” said Thomas Mantz, president and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay. “A healthy community has long been our shared vision, and now more than ever we are working together to uphold that vision.”
Ramping up production to provide 10,000 to-go meals each week
Feeding Tampa Bay is now serving 40 percent more individuals and families than ever before, according to a release from Florida Blue. The organization has activated child meal sites in four counties that are providing 2,600 meals to children each day in addition to ramping up production at its Trinity Café locations to provide 10,000 to-go meals each week. Feeding Tampa Bay has also deployed weekly mass food distributions in five area counties to help fill the gap and meet increased demand.
In addition to its $2 million investment in critical health and safety needs across the state, Florida Blue partnered with New Direction Behavioral Health to open a free, bilingual emotional support helpline providing 24-hour access to specially trained behavioral health counselors. Floridians can call 833-848-1762 for support in managing feelings of stress, anxiety, grief or fear related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Counselors cannot provide information on COVID-19 testing or treatment.
Keep connected with Florida Blue nurses and social workers
Florida Blue is also aiding those who lost access to health insurance through their employer or are having trouble paying for their current Florida Blue policies with experts who can explain a variety of options available to help individuals and families remain covered.
Local Florida Blue Center’s nurses, social workers and service and sales specialists are providing personalized support virtually and can fully explain available options. Individuals can be connected to their local Center by calling 877-352-5830. They can also review options with their local Florida Blue agent or by calling 855-714-8894.