Eleven nonprofit Rochester area organizations received Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards to help improve the community’s health.

Awards focus on improving the health status of the community, reducing the incidence of specific diseases, promoting health education and enhancing overall wellness. Winning organizations are selected based on the proposed program’s scope of need, goals and the number of people expected to benefit from it.

“The grants demonstrate a corporate commitment to supporting local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Holly Snow, director of community health engagement for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Medical Motor Service will use the grant to help address the needs of the chronically homeless in the Rochester area with funding for the MMS Homeless Shuttle, a late-night program to provide food, health care, and overnight housing.

The initiative, a collaborative of organizations that includes Medical Motor Service, sends teams of volunteers around downtown Rochester each month. Seeking out the area homeless, the teams search under bridges, in parks and in parking garages, coming into contact with roughly 20 people on each outing. After the original contact is made, food, clothing and toiletries are offered, as well as a basic health screening if a medical professional is available. Also offered is an overnight stay in a local hotel, which is paid for at a discounted rate by sponsoring churches. Those who agree—approximately 10 per night—are escorted onto the MMS bus and driven to the hotel, with the agreement being that the following morning they meet with a social worker to begin the process of helping them address important issues in their lives.

Thank you to Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for supporting this important community outreach.