CHICAGO, June 16, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Blue Cross and Blue Shield Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to working to help improve health outcomes by increasing access to nutritious food in communities through Illinois. According to Feeding America®, the largest national organization to fight hunger, more than 1.2 million people in Illinois – or one in eight inhabitants – faced hunger in 2020, and they predict that 10.9% of the state’s population will face food insecurity in 2021.
BCBSIL has partnered with Feeding America to award more than $ 150,000 by funding four organizations engaged in the fight against food insecurity in Illinois:
- Central Illinois Food Bank
- Eastern Illinois Food Bank
- Greater Chicago Food Depot
- Northern Illinois Food Bank
Illinois’ central food bank continues to see long lines and often runs out of food during its direct distributions. According to the Central Illinois Food Bank, they have seen a 20% increase in the pounds of food distributed to individuals and families since the start of the pandemic.
“We are very grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield for Illinois for its commitment to ensuring our neighbors have access to healthy and nutritious food. Our partnership has provided fresh produce, protein and dairy products to those facing food insecurity, many for the first time, during a time of unprecedented need, ”said Pam Malitoris, Executive Director of Central Illinois Food Bank. “This inspiring generosity reminds us of the responsibility we all share to support our communities. ”
“We know that the loss of jobs and other financial impacts of the pandemic are putting pressure on local food banks to increase access to food in their communities,” said Steve hamman, President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “We are proud to support these organizations in their work to help bring healthy food into homes and address the potential long-term health impacts of hunger, including mental health issues, developmental delay. child and increased risk of chronic disease. ”
BCBSIL’s work with Feeding America is just one example of the company’s focus on improving access to food and nutrition education. Other examples include:
- Provide support in the form of grants to community organizations focused on access to food through the COVID-19 Community Collaboration Fund. The last round of funding enabled 44 of the 175 organizations to $ 20,000 in funding focused on increasing access to food, often at a hyper-local, neighborhood level.
- We have provided virtual and in-person programs and events to address food insecurity through our Blue Door Neighborhood Center locations in that of Chicago Pullman, Morgan Park and South lawndale communities. These events included on-site food distribution events, monthly “local food resource navigation” virtual webinars, nutrition exhibits, and virtual cooking classes where attendees received cooking ingredients.
- Partnered with the American Diabetes Association and Top Box Foods on a series of mobile food drive / ambulance events serving an average of 200 families at each event with fresh produce, poultry and wellness kits.
- Host an April Food Day event on April 20, encouraging employees, community partners and residents to drop off donations to four local pantries at Joliet, Dawn, Springfield and Bolingbrook. Beyond the distribution of donations to Christ Pantry Joliet, 4Kid’s Sake Inc. Food Pantry and Enrichment Center, Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry and The Salvation Army of Springfield, these four organizations also received a $ 5,000 check BCBSIL to help continue their efforts.
- Presented Mattoon Community Food Center a $ 5,000 donation to support their efforts in terms of access to local food.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois