The Fidelis Care Blog 

Fidelis Care and Rethink Food Join with Essen Health Care to Provide Free Meals, COVID Testing for Bronx Communities



Over 2,400 Meals to be Distributed over Four Weeks this Holiday Season

December 17, 2020 -- Throughout December, Fidelis Care, a health plan with more than two million members across New York State, and nonprofit Rethink Food are joining with local provider Essen Health Care to deliver 2,400 meals and provide free COVID testing for underserved communities in the Bronx.

The effort kicked off on December 7 and will continue on the 14th, 21st, and 28th, from 11 AM to 2 PM. Each day, Rethink Certified restaurant partners Mott Haven Bar & Grill and Taste So Good will prepare and deliver nutritious meals that will be distributed by Fidelis Care staff at two Essen Health Care locations in the Bronx: 542 East 138th Street and 899 Elton Avenue. At the same time, free rapid and PCR COVID tests will also be provided at both locations.

The partnership underscores the dedication and commitment of Rethink Food, Essen Health Care, and Fidelis Care to nourishing healthy and thriving communities, and is a part of Rethink Food’s ongoing effort to create lasting change, both by providing nutrient-dense meals for those impacted by food insecurity and by supporting independent restaurants.

“Fidelis Care is pleased to partner with Rethink Food and Essen Health Care on this grassroots effort to reach those who are most impacted by food insecurity and COVID in Bronx communities,” said Pam Hassen, Chief Member Engagement Officer. “During a challenging time for many, we are pleased to join with Rethink and Essen Health Care to help provide care and support this holiday season.”

"We are very excited to partner with Fidelis Care and Rethink on this important initiative," said Sumir Sahgal, MD, founder and Chief Medical Officer at Essen Health Care. We look forward to serving our community throughout the month with this program, and continuing to be there with vital medical services long into the future."

"We are very excited to be partnering with Fidelis Care and Essen Health Care to provide free nutritious meals over this holiday season,” said Rethink Food founder and CEO, Matt Jozwiak . “There is a collective urgency to create lasting change in our food system at this critical time. The commitment from Fidelis Care to Rethink Food will directly support the preparation of over 2,400 meals to Bronx communities, while also supporting two local Bronx restaurants that are part of the Rethink Certified program.”




About Rethink Food:
Rethink Food is a nonprofit whose mission is to reduce food insecurity by developing practical models that distribute nutritionally dense, culturally sensitive meals to nourish healthy and thriving communities. Founded in 2017, Rethink Food developed a process to transform excess food from restaurants, corporate kitchens, and grocery stores into nutritious meals and distribute them via community-based organizations (CBOs). With food insecurity escalating and restaurants facing widespread closures during Covid, Rethink Food leveraged its experience as a food rescue and distribution model to launch Rethink Certified, a partnership program with a two-fold purpose: to feed communities and keep restaurants in business, not just in times of crisis. By providing grants and resources to local restaurants, they can prepare community meals as a part of their daily operation. Since its launch in April 2020, the Rethink Certified program has invested $10M into 35+ independent restaurants, and has provided over 2 million meals for those facing food insecurity. For more information, visit Follow Rethink Food on: Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.


About Fidelis Care

Fidelis Care is a mission-driven health plan offering quality, affordable coverage for children and adults of all ages and at all stages of life. With more than 2.1 million members Statewide, Fidelis Care believes that all New Yorkers should have access to affordable, quality health insurance. For more information, call Fidelis Care at 1-888-FIDELIS (1-888-343-3547) or visit


About Essen Health Care

Founded in 1999, Essen Health Care is a growing community healthcare network and group practice with 40 urgent, primary and specialty offices located throughout the Bronx. Essen employs more than 150 primary and specialty care physicians and 100+ advanced clinicians providing high quality, compassionate, and accessible medical care to over 150,0000 of the most vulnerable and under-served residents of New York State. Guided by a population health model of care, Essen has five integrated clinical divisions offering primary care, urgent care and specialty services, as well as nursing home staffing and care management. All clinical services are offered via telehealth, as well as through house calls for homebound seniors. Essen is dedicated to ensuring the quality of care for all patients and has been designated a ‘Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home’ by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Visit for more information.