By Ethan Duran
One hundred and twenty volunteers from UnitedHealthcare sorted out apples, pears, corn and other produce at four Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin food centers in the Southeastern Wisconsin area.
The event held on July 25, kicked off a $700,000 grant from United Healthcare to purchase coolers for Feeding America and to train employees on how to properly handle the produce.
Last Wed. morning, 41,000 pounds of produce rolled into facilities in Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Appleton and Madison. Workers from UnitedHealthcare donned caps and t-shirts and sorted crate after crate of apples, corn, potatoes and other items until noon.
The coolers and produce were paid for a month ahead through UnitedHealthcare’s grant, while most of the produce came in through donations.
“Lots of food perishes without adequate refrigeration, so we met with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. [So,] through the grant, we allowed them to buy coolers, said UnitedHealthcare’s Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Dr. Nicole Cooper.
The grant money came from UnitedHealthcare’s Corporate Social Responsibility office, which is made of revenue that UnitedHealthcare earns, said Dr. Cooper.
The food sort was a symbol of UnitedHealthcare and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin’s partnership, and it also renewed their vows for ending hunger and bringing health to individuals.
“We partnered with Feeding America because we’re a mission driven company,” Dr. Cooper said. “We chose Feeding America because we believe in their mission. They do their best every day and we wanted to help them.”
Feeding America’s Feeding America’s Director of Development and Communications Scott Marshall said the event was a good teambuilding effort and employee engagement. The volunteers who worked that day were healthcare workers.
“Not only do we see companies who want to get involved, but we get to meet their employees,” he said.
UnitedHealthcare and Feeding America have been partners since 2013, which involved a $100,000 that helped start Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. UnitedHealthcare plan to sustain their partnership and will continue to support Feeding America in ways of financial and volunteer resources, said Dr. Cooper.
The produce sorted last Wednesday will be given to food pantries across the state along with coolers.