Grant will launch We Care COVID-19 Virginia Emergency Food Support Plan

Sentara Healthcare and Truist announce a $1 million grant to the We Care COVID-19 Virginia Emergency Food Support Plan, a part of the Federation of Virginia Foodbanks. This grant will strengthen Virginia’s emergency food support system to provide meals and nourishment to families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Sentara Healthcare, and its health plan Optima Health, will contribute $500,000, while Truist has committed to giving $500,000.  Together, the $1 million investment will launch the program in Virginia while Sentara and the Federation of Virginia Foodbanks continue to seek other partners to participate and contribute.

“While Sentara remains focused on caring for our patients and health plan members as well as supporting our staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, we also recognize that many in our communities across Virginia are struggling with unmet needs such as a lack of food during this unprecedented crisis,” said Howard P. Kern, president and CEO, Sentara Healthcare. “We sincerely hope this program will encourage other organizations to join us in this statewide initiative to provide meaningful solutions for our communities during this global pandemic.”

Keeping people fed and healthy during this time is critically important. Virginia’s emergency food supply system of food banks and meal delivery services for their partner agencies are responding as quickly as possible. However, they are battling a growing number of challenges, including a continued decrease in volunteers, food supplies, and distribution partners.  

“We are proud to support the We Care COVID-19 Virginia Emergency Food Support Plan,” said Dan O’Neill, Virginia-East regional president at Truist. “This program is designed to deliver reliable nourishment to the most vulnerable people in our neighborhoods throughout this difficult period, and this effort aligns perfectly with our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities.”

The We Care program centers around a new innovative emergency food care package, a five-day supply of nonperishable food. The care packages can be easily assembled and distributed through food distribution points, which are managed by Virginia’s seven regional food banks and their associated partners. Sentara Healthcare and the Federation of Virginia Foodbanks are exploring new distribution points to help people most in need or those who need to be quarantined.  

“The We Care program is a game-changer in our collective efforts to address Virginia’s food needs during this dual health and economic crisis,” said Eddie Oliver, Executive Director, Federation of Virginia Foodbanks. “This emergency food package can be easily mass-produced and distributed to vulnerable, food insecure communities without placing additional stress on each food bank’s staff and volunteer force.”

About Sentara •

Sentara Healthcare celebrates 130 years in pursuit of its mission – “we improve health every day.” Named to IBM Watson Health’s 2018 “Top 15 Health Systems,” Sentara is an integrated, not-for-profit system of 12 hospitals in Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, including a Level I trauma center, the nationally-ranked Sentara Heart Hospital, two orthopedic hospitals, accredited Sentara Cancer Network and the Sentara Neurosciences Institute. The Sentara family also includes four medical groups, Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance and ground medical transport, senior care, home care and hospice, nursing rehabilitation centers, ambulatory outpatient campuses, advanced imaging and diagnostic centers, a clinically integrated network, the Sentara College of Health Sciences and the Optima Health Plan serving 500,000 members in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio. With nearly 28,000 employees and ranked one of Forbes “America’s Best Employers” in 2018, Sentara is strategically focused on clinical quality and safety, innovation and creating an extraordinary health care experience for our patients and members.

About Truist

Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspire and build better lives and communities. With 275 years of combined BB&T and SunTrust history, Truist serves approximately 10 million households with leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is the sixth-largest commercial bank in the U.S. with total assets of $473 billion as of December 31, 2019. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at

About the Federation of Virginia Food Banks

The Federation of Virginia Food Banks is the Commonwealth’s largest charitable response to hunger, representing Virginia’s seven Feeding America food banks and 1,500 partner agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. In SFY 2019, the Federation and its member foodbanks were able to acquire and distribute 120 million pounds of food and grocery items. Visit the Federation on the web at


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