Donations come at a critical time as food insecurity among the most vulnerable in the region continues to rise due to COVID-19
Optum, a leading health services company, is expanding its partnership with Wider Circle, a tech-enabled community-based health care services company that drives better health for older adults and other vulnerable communities, to bring 25,000 meals to individuals and families, including Optum patients in Los Angeles County, during the holiday season.
The donations come at a critical time as food insecurity among the most vulnerable in the region continues to rise due to COVID-19. According to the latest figures from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, access to healthy food is a major challenge in Los Angeles County – with approximately two million residents facing barriers to buying nutritious foods.
“Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people in our communities isolated and in need of support,” said Darin Buxbaum, president and chief operating officer of Wider Circle. “Optum’s generous meal donation will help ensure those most vulnerable have healthy meals, particularly during the holidays.”
Optum’s additional support for Wider Circle will bring the total number of meals delivered to 75,000, building on a partnership launched earlier this year to deliver healthy food to Los Angeles area residents. The Wider Circle partnership supports Optum’s goal of helping enable patients to live healthier lives, including addressing social determinants of health. It also helps LA area residents, particularly older adults, who may be isolated during the holidays and who may be facing food insecurity during COVID-19.
“As case numbers are rising in the region, this partnership brings healthy food to at-risk people who may be isolated and alone due to expanded social distancing measures,” said Dr. Amar Desai, M.D., CEO, Optum California. “Access to healthy food is an essential component to continued health and well-being and as the holidays draw near, we’re proud to work with Wider Circle, to get food to people with the greatest needs during these difficult times.”
During a food distribution event at the Joslyn Adult Center in Burbank, Optum employees joined Wider Circle and Helping Hands Community volunteers to distribute food kits to several hundred individuals and families from the local area. Wider Circle worked with the City of Burbank to coordinate the event, which provided food kits to residents who had the ability to drive-up in a vehicle or have food kits delivered to their homes. Each kit contains a 10-day supply of food. This event is one of several food delivery and drive-up distribution events being coordinated during the holidays by Optum, Wider Circle and its partners.
“The City of Burbank understands the value and importance of community partnerships, and we were happy to participate in this meaningful event, serving the community’s most in need during this holiday season,” said Marisa Garcia, parks and recreation director for the City of Burbank.
To learn more about Wider Circle programs and how to receive food supplies, visit www.widercircle.com. For questions about COVID-19 and health and safety guidelines, visit Optum’s resource information website at www.optum.com/covid-19.
Optum is a health services organization dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone. Part of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), Optum is patient-centered and strives to make health care simpler, with doctors and care teams focused on helping enable patients to live healthier lives. Optum California serves more than 1.4 million patients across Southern California through its family of medical groups and physician networks, including Optum, OptumCare Medical Group, AppleCare Medical Group, Beaver Medical Group, Monarch HealthCare, North American Medical Management of California and PrimeCare. More information is at www.optum.com/california.
Wider Circle works with health plans nationally to deliver unique community care programs that connect neighbors for better health. Centered on trusted relationships, Wider Circle connects health plan members with familiar neighbors to inform, support and motivate one another, empowering them to be more proactive about their health. Wider Circle’s trusted delivery network has been proven to drive resilience, improve member experience and engagement, and reduce hospitalizations. Today, Wider Circle offers its unique neighborhood care programs to more than 135 communities nationwide, including specialized COVID-19 support for vulnerable populations in isolation via virtual programming and peer-to-peer community support.