Thousands of Las Vegas area homeless will have access to healthy meals, as UnitedHealth Group’s Southern Nevada-based companies─ Health Plan of Nevada, Southwest Medical Associates and OptumCare─ reallocate their campus cafeteria staff to provide 10,500 meals each week, at least through the end of April. The effort comes as nonprofits report massive increases in the number of people needing help in accessing food.
UnitedHealth Group leaders devised the plan to help Compass Group food service workers get back to work in recently closed office cafeterias in several U.S. cities and to serve a community need.
“During this unprecedented public health emergency, access to healthy meals will increasingly become a challenge for many in the Las Vegas Valley,” said Don Giancursio, CEO, Health Plan of Nevada. “As a part of UnitedHealth Group, Health Plan of Nevada is proud to be able to participate in the enterprise’s multi-city effort to reallocate space and resources for such an important need.”
The City of Las Vegas and Clark County, partners in this effort, will be transporting and distributing 1,500 bagged meals each day, Monday through Thursday to Cashman Isolation/Quarantine Complex and Courtyard Homeless Resource Center, among others. On Fridays, 4,500 meals will be bagged and delivered to these shelters so healthy food is available on site through the weekend as well.
“The need grows daily during this health crisis. We are grateful for our community partners, including Health Plan of Nevada and Southwest Medical Associates for their much-needed help, said Kathi Thomas-Gibson, Director, Office of Community Services, City of Las Vegas.
Meals are being prepared by more than 18 Compass Group employees, who normally cook for, and serve, Health Plan of Nevada, Sierra Health and Life, Southwest Medical Associates, and OptumCare staff based at the Tenaya Way campus, many of whom are now working from home.
“As one of oldest and largest multispecialty medical groups in the state, OptumCare Nevada has dedicated itself to the health of Southern Nevada for years,” said Robert McBeath, MD, president, OptumCare Nevada. “This is another great example of people working together across the organization and between organizations to give our community strength for the fight while our health care providers battle this pandemic.”
UnitedHealth Group is covering the $500,000 in food costs and wages for the Compass Group employees in Las Vegas. This outreach is part of UnitedHealth Group’s recently announced $50 million initial commitment to support communities affected by COVID-19.