Bank of America donates $35K to two food banks in region

Published 6:13 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Bank of America announced Feb. 10 that it was making two donations totaling $35,000 to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore and the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank to address food insecurity in the region. 

The Bank of America press release continued by noting that each food bank will receive $17,500. 

An estimated 38 million people were food insecure in the United States in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

As the pandemic continues, hunger relief organizations in Hampton Roads and across the country are facing ongoing challenges such as increased demand for their services and rising food prices.

Bank of America is supporting its employees’ health and safety while addressing one of the local communities’ most critical needs. Earlier this year, the company announced it would make a $100 donation to local hunger relief organizations and food banks for each employee in Hampton Roads who received a COVID-19 booster shot or vaccine and notified the bank before the end of January.

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore delivered more than 19 million pounds of food in its most recent fiscal year, including 5.3 million pounds of fresh produce. For every $10 donated, the food bank can provide more than 13 meals. With Bank of America’s help, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is providing meals to neighborhoods where food insecurity rates can reach well over 50%.

“We are grateful to Bank of America for its continued generosity in helping us help those facing food insecurity,” said Emma Inman, APR, chief impact officer at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. “COVID and inflation, which continues to drive up costs for basic necessities including food, are exacerbating the need in our community, so this initiative is especially impactful, providing not only resources to support our efforts but also increasing the numbers of those vaccinated.”

Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is continuing to witness an increase in requests for food assistance and is tasked with purchasing greater quantities of food in order to ensure that its partner agencies and programs are able to meet a heightened need. Over 62,000 people on average are experiencing food insecurity on any given day across the Foodbank’s service area. 

The funding raised by the booster program will help Virginia Peninsula Foodbank provide 70,000 meals to individuals, families, children, seniors and veterans throughout the greater Peninsula region. This builds on the bank’s partnership with Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, which has also received prior grant awards for COVID-19 emergency response initiatives, the purchase of first-quality produce and general operating support.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant contribution from Bank of America’s booster program that will lead to even more people in our community receiving healthy meals during a time when pandemic effects and rising costs for basic needs expenses are causing a strain on family budgets,” said Karen Joyner, Virginia Peninsula Foodbank’s chief executive officer. “Bank of America has remained a valued partner in our mission to distribute food to minimize hunger and maximize nutrition, and we are grateful for their commitment to our community’s health and compassion for our neighbors in need.”

Nationally, Bank of America has committed $10.6 million dollars to food banks and hunger relief organizations through this effort. Since 2015, the bank has donated nearly $150 million toward hunger relief efforts.

“As the pandemic continues to impact Hampton Roads, food banks and hunger relief organizations are experiencing increased demand and higher costs to meet the needs of individuals and families,” said Frank Castellanos, president of Bank of America Hampton Roads. “Our commitment to help strengthen the communities we live in and serve is unwavering, which is why we are investing in the health, safety and well-being of our teammates while also providing funds to help local organizations support our neighbors and fight food insecurity.”

Bank of America committed to donating a minimum of $25,000 in each of the company’s 93 markets to local nonprofit partners as part of its vaccine booster effort. Because vaccination boosters and reporting are voluntary and additional company contributions are reflected in the final amount, actual donation amounts differ from the number of boosters reported by bank employees.

The company has encouraged staff to get COVID-19 vaccinations since summer 2021 and has offered incentives such as paid time off and $500 credits towards health benefit premiums. 

In partnership with local nonprofits, Bank of America has also distributed more than 38 million masks, 41,000 cases of hand sanitizer and 11 million gloves in local communities as part of its ongoing efforts to address health-related disparities accelerated by the pandemic.