New York, NY and Venice, CA, December 9, 2021 — Unite Us, the enterprise technology company providing the digital infrastructure powering the integrated health and social care ecosystem, today announced a partnership with Bento, a Venice, California-based service that addresses food insecurity through a proprietary patient engagement platform. This platform connects individuals and families with nutritiously curated, prepaid meals from restaurants and grocery stores via text messages. The companies are joining forces when the pandemic has led to a drastic increase in the rate of food insecurity in our country.
Food insecurity is an ongoing issue in the U.S. In 2019, more than 35 million Americans struggled to obtain enough food or were uncertain of where their next meal would come from. The pandemic worsened what had been an improving issue, and it’s estimated that nearly 30 percent of all American households with children experienced food insecurity at some point in 2020. Underserved communities – including communities of color and rural populations – are disproportionately impacted by hunger and other social issues that affect overall health and well-being. By addressing hunger first, individuals are empowered, and the difficult choice between feeding their children and seeking out other social services or expensive medical care is eliminated.
“This partnership with Unite Us is exciting because together, we’ll be able to more effectively identify those at risk of food insecurity and get out ahead of this issue on a larger scale in the United States,” said Adam Dole, COO of Bento. “We believe that addressing someone’s most basic human need for nutritious food in a convenient and dignified way is the first step towards improving people’s quality of life and driving better healthcare outcomes.”
By integrating Bento’s platform and services with Unite Us’ coordinated care network, the organizations will collaborate to serve and increase nutritious and convenient food options for thousands of people in disparate communities across the country. Service providers who use the Unite Us network to coordinate with community-based organizations in underserved regions securely will be able to electronically refer to Bento to help their clients access healthy, nutritious meals for themselves and their families from local restaurants stigma-free, just like any other customer.
”Our partnership with Bento will augment our end-to-end solution with an option for vulnerable populations to receive equitable access to food in their communities. The intuitive Bento technology, combined with the power of the national Unite Us network, will make it easier for everyone to get access to the help they need in the most efficient way possible,” said Esther Farkas, Chief Strategy Officer of Unite Us.
Bento is currently available in ten metropolitan areas with plans to expand alongside the Unite Us networks to better serve broader communities.
Launched in April 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bento is a patient engagement platform that uses SMS text messaging to create trust with food-insecure individuals and families by connecting them with nutritious meals (using nearby restaurants and grocery stores) in a stigma-free way. This establishes a trusted communication channel that allows Bento to engage further and connect participants with additional wrap-around health and social resources/services. In its first year, Bento provided over 150,000 meals to people in need across eight cities in the United States and was selected as a Fast Company 2021 World Changing Idea, a Fortune Impact 20 company, and a TIME 100 Best Inventions of 2021.
About Unite Us
Unite Us is a technology company that builds coordinated care networks of health and social service providers. With Unite Us’ end-to-end solution, providers across sectors identify social care needs, send and receive secure, electronic referrals, report on tangible outcomes, and transform payment models within a secure and collaborative ecosystem. Unite Us’ community engagement teams build sustainable partnerships with local organizations to ensure their networks have solid foundations, launch successfully, and continue to grow and thrive. This HITRUST-certified, social care infrastructure helps communities address social determinants of health and advance health equity. Follow Unite Us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
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Source: Unite Us