Did you know that 25 percent of children and nearly 20 percent of adults in the Chattanooga area are food insecure?
This means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or if they’ll even have a meal. Food challenges often grow worse during the summer.
“Most families welcome the relaxing summer months. But hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation,” says Gina Crumbliss, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. “Long summer days can easily turn into long hungry nights for children who rely on free and reduced-priced meals during the school year.”
The Chattanooga Area Food Bank relies on donations to supply many of the meals it provides to area residents. Unfortunately, these donations decrease during the summer, which makes it more difficult for the organization to offer assistance to everyone who needs it.
“When we heard about the food bank’s need, we knew our employees would want to help – not just here in Chattanooga, but across the state,” says Scott Wilson, director of community relations and health foundation for BlueCross.
And so, he and his team got to work, launching the BlueCross Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive.
Partnering to meet a need
From June 7 through June 21, the BlueCross Team Blue volunteer organization mobilized employees to donate non-perishable foods to support the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. Items requested included canned fruit/vegetables, pasta, rice, peanut butter, dry beans and canned soups.
Generosity in action
In true BlueCross fashion, employees collected thousands of pounds of food to help Tennesseans in need. At the Cameron Hill office in Chattanooga, employees donated 6,926 pounds of food, the equivalent of 5,772 meals.
But the generosity didn’t stop there. Employees also raised $1,175 in cash donations to support the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. These funds will be used to purchase an additional 4,700 meals.
The combined food and cash donations equal 12,566 pounds, or 10,472 meals.
“Thank you to Team Blue and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee employees who generously donated to the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive,” Gina says. “You have made a tremendous impact on our community by giving the equivalent of 10,472 meals in just two short weeks. By opening your hearts to our neighbors, you are helping to make this summer hunger-free for the children, families, seniors and others we serve. Together, we can solve hunger.”
Adds Scott, “I am overwhelmed by the amazing response and tremendous generosity of our Team Blue volunteers and BlueCross employees. They have helped stock food bank shelves across the state, and many of our neighbors will have meals this summer thanks to their efforts.”
Employees in our regional offices brought in hundreds of pounds of goods to benefit food banks in their areas, as well.