Across much of the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has left local food banks juggling increased demand with decreased donations. And many organizations are seeing first-time clients — some of whom are out of work and unsure where their next meal is coming from.
For the third year in a row, BlueCross employees teamed up to help hungry Tennesseans through the company’s Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive – this time with a special determination to make a difference for those affected by COVID-19. Typically, employees bring in donations of non-perishable food items to be delivered to partner food banks across the state. However, this year, each organization set up an online donation portal so employees could make monetary donations while 96% of our people are still working from home.
We supported these organizations through the virtual drive:
- Chattanooga Area Food Bank
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee (Tri-Cities)
- Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Knoxville)
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (Nashville)
- Regional Inter-Faith Association (Jackson)
- Mid-South Food Bank (Memphis)
Throughout the drive, they shared their feelings of gratitude about being able to donate and help others.
“Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned,” said Nancy Daily, a manager in digital case management. “I grew up with a large family and huge gatherings, especially at the holidays. We were fortunate to eat dinner together every night around the kitchen table. I donated to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank because I can’t imagine a family, or a person, having to go hungry. I hope it brings some joy.”
An additional gesture of support
The donations from the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive will enhance existing contributions from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation. In March, the foundation donated $3.25 million in grants to these area food banks, and our partners across the state quickly began putting the much-needed funds to use.
- Chattanooga Area Food Bank: $500,000 donation = 2 million meals
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee (Tri-Cities): $500,000 donation = 2 million meals
- Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Knoxville): $500,000 donation = 2 million meals
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (Nashville): $750,000 donation = 3 million meals
- Regional Inter-Faith Association (Jackson): $250,000 donation = 176,056 meals
- Mid-South Food Bank (Memphis): $750,000 donation = 2.25 million meals
“We know many Tennesseans are facing unprecedented challenges now and likely will be for some time to come,” said Chelsea Johnson, director of the BlueCross Foundation. “I know our foundation’s contributions are providing a lifeline for food banks who are serving our neighbors in need, and I’m proud that our employees stepped up to help by donating from their own pockets.”
Where to get help – or lend a hand
It remains uncertain how long Americans will be affected by COVID-19 and how long households will continue to feel its economic impact. Each of our partner organizations is offering continued assistance to those who need it and accepting donations online at the links below.
If you need support and need to find a food bank in your area, you can visit www.FeedingAmerica.org.