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Southern Ill. food pantries to receive new refrigerators, freezers

Aetna Better Health of Illinois announced a collaboration with the Southern Illinois Food...
Aetna Better Health of Illinois announced a collaboration with the Southern Illinois Food Pantry Network to provide $138,000 worth of professional-grade refrigerators and freezers to 34 food pantries.(KFVS)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 3:25 PM CDT
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SOUTHERN Ill. (KFVS) - Food pantries in 16 counties in southern Illinois will receive new refrigerators and freezers.

Aetna Better Health of Illinois announced a collaboration with the Southern Illinois Food Pantry Network to provide $138,000 worth of professional-grade refrigerators and freezers to 34 food pantries.

According to Southern Illinois Healthcare, 80 percent of adults in southern Illinois are not meeting the recommended guidelines for daily fruit and vegetable intake. More than 45,000 southern Illinoisans rely on their local food pantries to access food.

In the past, they said some local food pantries reported having to turn perishable donations away because they don’t have the capacity to store those types of food.

With the donated refrigerators and freezers, the pantries will distribute healthy and nutritious food such as fresh produce, dairy products and proteins to vulnerable populations of children and adults.

“This collaboration with Aetna Better Health of Illinois is helping us achieve our mission to reduce hunger and improve the health of our communities through increasing access to healthy and nutritious food,” said Toni Kay Wright, a representative of the Southern Illinois Food Pantry Network. “We are excited to support more than 30 area food pantries in their efforts to increase cold storage in their food pantries and bring healthier fresh foods to the communities.”

The Southern Illinois Food Pantry Network and its network of pantries serve a total population of 330,000, a third of whom are Medicaid recipients.

“We are thankful for partners like the Southern Illinois Food Pantry Network and Aetna Better Health of Illinois for providing the refrigerator and freezer to our food pantry,” said Casey Pollard, The Table Food Pantry in Vienna, Ill. “Since the pandemic started, we have provided over 100,000 pounds of food to families in need. Continued partnerships like these help us battle food insecurity across the region.”

Aetna Better Health of Illinois serves nearly 400,000 members in 102 counties.

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