Earlier this year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Healthy Blue and Vantage Health Plan committed to sponsor 125,000 meals at food banks statewide. Volunteers with the health care organizations went above and beyond that goal, packing 171,468 meals in 2022.
“One in six families in our state is facing food insecurity, and we were proud to partner with Vantage, Healthy Blue and our community food bank partners to make sure Louisianians can get healthy meals in times of need,” said Michael Tipton, head of Community Relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and president of the Blue Cross Foundation. “Our mission is to improve the health and lives of Louisianians, and our employees fulfill that mission by giving their time in service to our communities.”
Through FeedingLouisiana and The Pack Shack’s “Feed the Funnel” program, volunteers prepared and distributed meals through Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank, Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana, Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana and other organizations addressing hunger in Louisiana. Food-packing parties took place in each region of the state through August in an extended celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service.
“Healthy Blue values the opportunity to play a key role in improving lives and building healthier, stronger communities,” said Dr. Christy Valentine Theard, president of Healthy Blue Louisiana. “Our organization and our associates have stayed committed to our mission of service, and it makes us proud to see the positive, meaningful impact our efforts have on residents across our state.”
“Global hunger is a consistent problem and right here in Louisiana, over 21% of our households are food insecure,” said Sheila O’Leary, Director of Marketing for Vantage Health Plan. “Vantage Health Plan was so excited to partner with Blue Cross, Healthy Blue and several community food bank partners across Louisiana to pack over 171,400 meals in 2022.”
Since 2018, Blue Cross Team Blue volunteers have packed more than half a million meals statewide – that’s more than 35 tons of food, equal to the weight of nearly five large, male elephants. This is enough to provide 342 four-person families with one meal per family member per day for an entire year.
“We are so proud of the work of these caring volunteers,” said Pat Van Burkleo, Feeding Louisiana executive director. “Not only did their hands help pack the food bags, but their hearts also touched more than half a million people across the state. Good things happen when people care.”