Cooperstown Food Pantry gets $2K grant

ContributedMary Kate Kenney. director of the Cooperstown Food Pantry, receives a novelty check representing the Excellus BCBS Community Health Award from Excellus Utica Regional President Eve Van de Wal, right, in this undated photo.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recently awarded Cooperstown Food Pantry a Community Health Award of $2,000 to support its Farmers’ Market Voucher program, according to a media release. The program, which began in 2009, provides vouchers to families who participate in the Cooperstown Food Pantry to purchase fresh produce at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market. Families may pick up vouchers during their monthly visit to the food pantry from May through October.

“This program provides pantry families with access to the freshest local produce available in our area. Access to fresh fruits and vegetables leads to better overall nutrition,” said Mary Kate Kenney, director of the Cooperstown Food Pantry, in the release. “The program also supports our local farmers who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Currently in its 44th year, the Cooperstown Food Pantry provides a safety net for area families facing food insecurity.

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,” the release said.

“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. “We recognize that the pandemic has created an even greater need for programs such as the Cooperstown Food Pantry that address social issues that impact the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

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