Since early June Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has been partnering with local nonprofits to help food insecure residents get food during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Eastie, BCBS has teamed up with Eastie-based Project Bread, Crossroads Family Shelter, Salesian Boys & Girls Club, the East Boston YMCA as well as the BCYF Paris Street Community Center to provide nutritious meals to families in need.
BCBS recently announced it has served its 50,000th meal to families through the partnerships here and across the state.
“Access to nutritious food is essential for maintaining a healthy life,” said Jeff Bellows, vice president of corporate citizenship and public affairs at BCBS. “To help address this growing health issue, BCBShas made significant local investments and developed new community partnerships to ensure families have access to healthy food during this difficult time.”
Bellows pointed out that pre-COVID-19, one in 11 Massachusetts households faced hunger, which amounted to 9 percent of residents. As of March, data showed that 38 percent of people in the state were food insecure and the rate continues to rise.
“To date, BCBS’ financial, pro-bono and in-kind COVID-19 community support totals $9.75M,” said Bellows. “In addition to the company’s $460,000 contribution to regional COVID-19 response funds including the Boston Resiliency Fund. BCBS has also committed nearly $600,000 directly to nonprofits in East Boston and across the state that have been addressing the rising rate of food insecurity in communities.”
For example BCBS’s partnership with Project Bread and their COVID-19 response efforts has allowed the state’s leading anti-hunger organization to work with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and many schools and community partners to provide families with access to school meals while schools are closed. The support from BCBS also allowed local nonprofits and schools in Eastie to bring back furloughed cafeteria staff to help prepare 1,000 meals per day.