The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation is giving $250,000 to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank 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 the Chattanooga Area Food Bank 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, said officials.
“The Chattanooga Area Food Bank is grateful for the extraordinary support of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation,” says Melissa Blevins, president and CEO of the food bank. “This additional investment enables the food bank to remain on the frontlines of hunger relief, ensuring those in our community have access to fresh produce and nourishing shelfstable food boxes. Together, we are providing an additional 1,000,000 meals and giving hope to those who need us most.”
The donation to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank 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)
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Knoxville)
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 gave a combined $1.5 million for COVID testing in underserved areas, flu vaccine education efforts, and community organizations. This includes $400,000 to support local community organizations and $50,000 for COVID-19 testing in Chattanooga.
The foundation also awarded $1 million to the HCS EdConnect initiative, which helps improve equitable access to remote learning by providing free broadband service to Hamilton County students.
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.