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SWH Partners with Regional Food Bank To Provide Seniors With Access To Fresh Produce, Groceries

ALBANY, NY (April 5, 2011) — Senior Whole Health of NY (SWH), a voluntary health care benefits plan for those over 65 eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, has partnered with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York on a three-month food pantry delivery initiative designed to connect low-income seniors in Washington and Warren counties with nutritious foods.

Through the pilot program, which will run April through June, SWH staff will coordinate the pickup and distribution of grocery bags containing a blend of healthy fruit and products such as potatoes, lettuce, squash, apples, bread, yogurt, juice and cheese to residents at two senior buildings per month.

"SWH approached us with this idea and we felt it presented a unique partnership opportunity," said Mark Quandt, Executive Director, Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. "Through this program we'll be able to connect the neediest seniors with nutritious donated food. We'll also be able to better serve some of the outlying counties in our service area."

"Studies show that homebound seniors often have low intake of fruits and vegetables and limited access to fruits and vegetables with the most protective nutrients," added SWH Executive Director Margaret Wallingford. "This program will help boost fruit and vegetable consumption for homebound seniors, while reducing risk of chronic disease and promoting healthy aging."

The delivery schedule is as follows:

Warren County (April 4, May 2, June 6)

10 a.m. — Cronin High Rise, 43 Ridge St., Glens Falls

12:30 p.m. — Stitchman Towers, 21 J St., Glens Fall

Washington County (April 18, May 16, June 23)

10 a.m. — Earl Towers, 1 Saint Paul's Drive, Hudson Falls

1 p.m. — Skenesborough Harbor, 8 Elizabeth St., Whitehall

The food pantry program is part of a larger year-round food distribution program run by SWH. The health insurer also coordinates farmers' markets at senior facilities located in Rensselaer, Albany, Schenectady, Warren, Washington, Montgomery and Ulster counties from May through October.

For more information, call Danielle Adriance at 518-605-9074, or visit seniorwholehealth.com.

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About Senior Whole Health Plus (SWH)

SWH is a voluntary health care benefits plan for those over 65 eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The health plan, which currently serves members living in Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Ulster, Warren and Washington counties, combines health care with social support services so that seniors living in assisted living or other community housing can maintain their independence and freedom of choice when making health care decisions. To date, more than 7,000 elders are insured by SWH. For additional information, call (518) 472-5200, or go to www.seniorwholehealth.com.

About the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York

The Regional Food Bank has been helping to feed the poor and hungry in our communities since 1982. It is the only organization of its kind in northeastern New York. The Food Bank collects large donations of food from the food industry and distributes it to charitable agencies serving hungry and disadvantaged people in 23 counties. From Plattsburgh to Newburgh, the Food Bank provides more than 20 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 agencies. For more information, call (518) 786-3691, or visit www.regionalfoodbank.net.