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How our foundation is helping local organizations fight hunger

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across Tennessee, people are coming together to help one another. Residents are keeping themselves and their neighbors “safer at home” while tending to the vulnerable and supporting local businesses.

But as the pandemic continues to affect our everyday lives, more people are facing uncertainty about providing food for their families. BlueCross leaders recognized these developing needs, and our foundation acted quickly to support local organizations equipped to meet them.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation is awarding a total of $3.25 million in grants to food banks statewide. 

“Every day, families count on food banks for help — and that’s especially true now,” said JD Hickey, M.D., CEO of BlueCross and chairman of the BlueCross Foundation. “Tennesseans can get through these challenging times by coming together, and we’re expanding our support for food banks statewide as another way to bring peace of mind to our neighbors.”

Equipping local food banks to provide millions of meals

Our foundation’s support will help Tennessee food banks meet the needs of their communities now more than ever.

Food banks can often purchase supplies at much lower costs than individuals, stretching to provide as many as four meals for each dollar they receive in cash donations.  

Here are the organizations we’ve provided food relief funds to:

  • $750,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (Nashville)
  • $750,000 to Mid-South Food Bank (Memphis)
  • $500,000 to Chattanooga Area Food Bank
  • $500,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Knoxville)
  • $500,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee (Tri-Cities)
  • $250,000 to Regional Inter-Faith Association (Jackson)

“As we see what is happening around the state, we believe there is a real need for many individuals and families,” said Roy Vaughn, executive director of the BlueCross Foundation. “We’ve supported food banks with employee donation drives and volunteer efforts for years, and we knew they’d be able to maximize every dollar for communities in need.” 

While more Tennesseans are facing food insecurity, many others are looking for ways to help. Community members who want to help can find and donate to their local food bank by visiting the links above or

Continuing to support BlueCross members

As our foundation responds to meet community needs, our teams are also working hard to support BlueCross members affected by COVID-19. We’ve successfully transitioned almost all of our employees to work from home, and they’re working hard to deliver the service and support members and health care providers rely on.

We’re sharing the latest news and answering member questions at, but here’s a summary of our efforts so far:

  • Covering early prescription refills
  • Expanding access to telehealth services
  • Waiving costs for FDA-aligned COVID-19 testing
  • Committing to covering doctor-recommended treatments
  • Sharing public health information from the experts

There are more details in our member FAQ. Members can also reach out by calling the Member Service number on the back of their BlueCross ID card or by contacting us online.

“Our clinical teams are monitoring COVID-19 news and guidance from the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local health departments,” said Dr. Andrea Willis, chief medical officer. “And we want our members to know we’re here with answers and support.”

About John Hawbaker, Managing Director, Corporate Communications & Community Relations

A photo of the authorJohn leads a team responsible for communications and community relations strategies that reflect the mission-driven culture of BlueCross. He has called the Chattanooga area home since 2003 and began serving on the BlueCross corporate communications team in 2010.

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