$5 million given to food banks statewide this year to help residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation is giving $250,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee to help meet the needs of community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This gift provides additional support following the $500,000 the foundation awarded to Second Harvest in March.
Food banks across the state have been facing increased demand since the onset of the pandemic, as many Tennesseans turn to them for support. While many organizations have been able to sustain operations throughout 2020, donations are leveling off and the beginning of 2021 remains uncertain.
“In a year as devastating as 2020, donor support continues to be imperative in the fight to end hunger. Second Harvest expresses the most sincere gratitude to the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation for its continuous support of the mission,” said Elaine Streno, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. “With more than 239,000 East Tennesseans now facing food insecurity due to the pandemic, this generous gift could not come at a better time. We are extremely thankful.”
The donation to Second Harvest is part of a combined $1.75 million contribution the BlueCross Foundation is making now to continue helping communities across the state. With this latest funding, the foundation has provided $5 million to Tennessee food banks since March. Other organizations receiving contributions include:
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (Nashville)
- Mid-South Food Bank (Memphis)
- Chattanooga Area Food Bank
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee (Tri-Cities)
- Regional Inter-Faith Association (Jackson)
“We know many Tennesseans count on their local food banks for help – especially this year,” said Roy Vaughn, executive director of the BlueCross Foundation. “BlueCross understands the vital role these organizations play in our communities, and as part of our mission to provide peace of mind, we’re expanding our support to ensure they can continue helping our neighbors in need.”
These additional food bank gifts are the latest in a series of contributions the BlueCross Foundation has made to help Tennesseans throughout the pandemic. The foundation has given a combined $1.5 million for COVID testing in underserved areas, flu vaccine education efforts, and community organizations.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc. has also taken several steps to help its members during the pandemic, including waiving member costs for FDA-aligned COVID-19 tests and treatments, as well as expanding telehealth options. For more, visit BCBSTupdates.com. Community members who want to help can find and donate to their local food bank by visiting FeedingAmerica.org.
About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Inc.®
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.5 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and is celebrating its 75th anniversary of bringing peace of mind to its members and local communities. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at bcbstnews.com.
About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc.
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. It has awarded $120 million in grants since 2005. The foundation provides funding for the BlueCross Healthy Place program, which creates active, healthy spaces across Tennessee.