B of A trades vaccines for holiday donations

The Bank of America donates $25,000 to Visalia and Fresno’s food bank, funding comes as a vaccine incentive for their employees

TULARE COUNTY – Bank of America incentivized getting a vaccine earlier this year by promising to donate $100 to help fight food insecurity for every worker who gets vaccinated. 

It’s the season of giving, and Bank of America is taking part in holiday cheer by donating $8 million to food banks around the nation. The Central California Food Bank (CCFB), which serves Fresno and Visalia, will be receiving a total of $25,000 from Bank of America to help fight food insecurity in the Central Valley.

“Millions of Americans suffer from food insecurity each day,” Bank of America said in a memo to their employees. “The pandemic has not only increased the challenges faced by many American families, but also the non-profit organizations who deliver vital resources to families across the country.” 

The funding is a result of a unique incentive campaign Bank of America announced earlier this year on Jan. 5. The campaign encouraged bank employees from all locations to get a new coronavirus booster or flu shot this season. As a reward, the bank would give $100 to local hunger relief organizations for every shot an employee gets. 

Nationwide, Bank of America employees generated $8 million to food banks this fall. It’s the second employee-booster campaign the bank has done, with the first being in 2021. Together, both efforts have generated nearly $20 million in additional funding to local food banks nationwide while helping to mitigate rising flu and covid cases amongst its employees.

“This is a direct investment in your health, and in the wellbeing of the communities where we work and live,” Bank of America executives wrote to their employees. “Medical experts and health officials continue to emphasize that receiving a booster shot is critical to protecting your health and safety, and that of your family, friends and community.” 

Bank of America has a long history of donating to food banks, as they have raised $150 million since 2015. However, this is one of the first vaccine incentive programs that the bank has offered. They have also offered paid time off and a $500 bonus to health premiums. 

This comes at a time when food insecurity looms over the heads of Americans, a direct result of the pandemic. This is especially true for the Central Valley, and Fresno is among the top five urban areas in the entire country that suffers from high rates of food insecurity, according to the California Farm Bureau. 

According to a study done by researchers at New York University, the pandemic changed the food security landscape. High unemployment, disruptions of various supply chains and a nation-wide lockdowns contributed to increased food prices, as well as lower incomes for families, according to NYU researchers. Additionally, with schools being closed, 30 million students who relied on free lunches were often left hungry, according to the study.

The CCFB helps over 35,000 people every month through food distributions, meal recovery programs, grocery box pick-ups and school sites. Half of the food aid went to adults, with the other half being split between senior citizens and children. CCFB stated that $1 can provide four meals, allowing for thousands of people to be fed through Bank of America’s donation.

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