MANCHESTER, NH – In an effort to address food insecurity in the Granite State, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield associates in New Hampshire recently teamed up with the nonprofit Blessings in a Backpack to load 500 backpacks with nonperishable food and snacks, which were donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester to supplement the club’s food pantry.
A national grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation is helping to supplement food availability in local programs for elementary school children in Manchester and across the U.S. who might otherwise go hungry on weekends during the school year. According to the Manchester Health Department, more than half of the students in Manchester’s public schools receive free or reduced-price meals at school, which is commonly associated with food insecurity.
“Anthem’s mission is to improve lives and communities and to make healthcare simpler. To help us accomplish this, we work with local organizations to develop community-specific approaches that remove barriers and improve health,” said Lisa Guertin, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire. “Food insecurity is associated with some of the most serious and costly chronic health problems, and it’s important we continue to identify ways to address this serious issue in our communities where help is needed and can be readily accessed.”
Guertin continued, “Many of the kids in this city who depend on free or reduced-price meal programs leave school on Fridays uncertain whether they will have enough food to eat over the weekend. Better test scores and reading skills, increased positive behavior, improved health and increased school attendance have all been attributed to consistent nutrition. That’s why we’re proud to work with Blessings in a Backpack and the Manchester Boys & Girls Club to supplement the club’s efforts to make sure no child in the Manchester area goes hungry over the weekend.”
To date, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s partnership with Blessings in a Backpack has provided more than 8,000 bags of food for kids across the U.S.