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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Expands Fight Against Food Insecurity with $295,000 Support to Ohio Food Relief Organizations

Collaboration will help give the six food banks the ability to provide millions of healthy meals to Ohioans in need

Columbus, OH, July 7, 2021 Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio is committing $295,000 to Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank; HEART Food Pantry; Second Harvest Food Bank, Clark, Champaign, Logan; Second Harvest Food Bank, North Central Ohio; West Ohio Food Bank; and Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley. This support will help the food relief organizations feed thousands of additional families across the state, and it expands on Anthem’s existing commitment to help fight food insecurity.  

These funds will help meet a critical need as nearly one in five Ohioans lack reliable access to healthy food – according to data available at “Close to Home,” a social driver of health information tool available through Anthem, Inc., the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

“We have been connected to Ohio communities for more than 80 years and are dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of our neighbors by addressing the many factors that influence health, including access to healthy food,” said Neil Steffens, President of Anthem’s Medicare Central Region. “Working together with community partners, like these six organizations, will have a greater impact on addressing food insecurity than individual efforts.”

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is the source of emergency food and other essential items to 580 hunger-relief programs in eight Northeast Ohio counties. These programs operate food pantries, hot meal sites, shelters, children and senior programs, and other hunger-relief programs in communities where people need food. With Anthem’s support, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank will be able to distribute thousands of pounds of food through its new mobile pop-up pantry, the equivalent of 80,000 meals for Northeast Ohioans struggling with hunger. The Foodbank’s pop-up pantry provides food access to neighborhoods with limited food resources.

“We’re beyond thankful and humbled by Anthem’s desire to support local hunger-relief efforts. Because of their generosity, we can help eliminate the difficult decisions families are often forced to make, like choosing between groceries and other essential expenses,” said Foodbank President and CEO Dan Flowers. “Partnerships like Anthem help fuel our work, which ultimately serves as the difference between hunger and hope for our neighbors in need.”

HEART (Helping Eastside and Reynoldsburg Thrive) Food Pantry aims to nourish hungry neighbors with healthy nutritious food and connects them with life-building resources so they can flourish for a lifetime. Through its collaboration with Anthem, HEART Food Pantry will be able to help more than 24,000 people distributing more than 2.6 million meals at 2021 food distribution events.

“We value the extensive partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield,” noted Cheryl Wooten, Executive Director of HEART. “This partnership has blessed us with meaningful resources to provide to our neighbors in need. Our mission of Nourish to Flourish includes healthy food in partnership with Mid-Ohio Food Collective and quality services, of which Anthem is a key partner. Their presence in our market provides a hands-on approach of on-time services and building key relationships. Thank you!” 

By leveraging Anthem’s support, Second Harvest Food Bank, Clark, Champaign, Logan will be able to acquire more than 375,000 meals and help 25,000 families in need. The food bank works to alleviate hunger in its tri-county service area by sourcing and distributing nutritious food to people in need, building community partnerships, and mobilizing the public to support hunger relief. 

“Anthem’s funding will make a huge impact in our community. It is important to collaborate with community partners to reduce food insecurity. The funds will allow Second Harvest Food Bank CCL to purchase nutritional food for families who are struggling. The support helps bring stability and hope to households,” shared Tyra L. Jackson, Executive Director. 

Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley believes that no one should go hungry and they are dedicated to building a community that makes food accessible to all people. In collaboration with Anthem and with its financial support, the food bank will be able to give 300,000 meals to people in Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull Counties. The food bank regularly works with 160 organizations and programs throughout its tri-county service area to help those in need.

“We are grateful to Anthem for this generous gift which will be used to purchase additional produce,” said Michael Iberis, executive director, Second Harvest Food Bank. “This support will go a long way in helping us fill nearly 14,000 requests for food assistance each week in the Mahoning Valley.”

Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio aims to grow hope in the region by creating pathways to nutritious food and create a brighter future for all by cultivating a healthy, hunger-free community. With the support of Anthem, the food bank will be to help more than 154,000 people in its service area by giving them more than 500,000 meals.

Julie Chase Morefield, President & CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, said, “Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has a great presence in our area and we are happy and very grateful they are taking action to combat hunger locally.  We’ve all seen how hunger insecurity takes a toll on every community, some more than others. But with this kind of help we can feed so many families.”

Through the financial support from Anthem, West Ohio Food Bank will be able to secure more than 150,000 meals that will be given to approximately 2,000 unduplicated people at the more than 25 food distribution events the food bank will hold in the next year. West Ohio Food Bank believes everyone should have access to healthy, nutritious food.

“We are very humbled and thankful for the continued generous support and partnership that we have with Anthem. Our relationship has become stronger over the years and their passion for wanting to help our food insecure neighbors is overwhelming. We truly appreciate everything they have and continue to do with us.” Tommie Harner, CEO of West Ohio Food Bank Executive.



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Revised: 07/16/21 07:52:12 -0700.





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