Community health and nutrition programs will build on Health Care Service Corporation’s longstanding efforts to help members and communities be at their best
The nation’s largest customer-owned health insurer, Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), is joining forces with Feeding America® , the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, to address the complex and often overlapping challenges that increase families’ risk of food insecurity, the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Through a $1.2 million grant to Feeding America over two years across its five health plan states, including Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, a whole-person approach will empower families with employment skills training and the knowledge to sustain healthy eating behaviors.
HCSC selected 26 food banks across its five local health plans to implement Feeding America’s nutrition education and intervention strategies, including:
- Nudges in food pantries: recommended on-site changes, such as placing fresh produce, dairy and protein in areas with high-visibility near the entrance and using signage to encourage healthy selection;
- Community kitchens: 10- to 16-week culinary job training programs that prepare adults in-need for jobs in the food service industry; and
- Nutrition policy: nutrition guidelines that help food pantries identify healthful foods and beverages as they shift toward nutrition-focused food banking.
“We have a big part to play in connecting people not just with access to affordable health care, but to the foundational resources they need to improve their well-being,” said Joel Farran, senior vice president and chief brand officer, HCSC. “Through our work with Feeding America, our health plans can reach deeper into our communities with localized programs that provide access to nutritious food and confront the limited employment opportunities, gaps in education and chronic health issues that often go hand-in-hand with food insecurity.”
HCSC’s collaboration with Feeding America aligns with Affordability CuresSM, the company’s endeavor to address the root causes of the high-cost health care system and support healthy communities. Families facing food insecurity often experience stress, limited income and diet-related chronic illness, which negatively affects health. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 40 million people are food insecure.1 Feeding America’s 2018 Map the Meal Gap research demonstrates that in counties with high food insecurity, 1 in 8 people have diabetes and 1 in 3 people experience obesity.
Through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative to promote healthy, active and safe communities, HCSC has supported local food banks for nearly 10 years, distributing more than 2 million pounds of food in 2017 alone. Its work with Feeding America will centralize and refocus these efforts on proven strategies that increase access to and consumption of nutritious foods.
“Food insecurity and underlying drivers and results exist in every county across the country,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “Through localized programs that help people be at their best – body, mind and spirit – Health Care Service Corporation is helping to identify people who may be food insecure and connect them to critical resources to promote good nutrition and combat hunger.”
Read more about HCSC’s longstanding support of food sources and other community initiatives in the 2017 Social Responsibility Report.
About Health Care Service Corporation
Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) is the largest customer-owned health insurance company in the United States. HCSC offers a wide variety of health and life insurance products and related services through its operating divisions and subsidiaries, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Dearborn National. The company employs more than 23,000 people and serves more than 16 million members. For more information, please visit HCSC.com, visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.
HCSC's Community Investments
Health Care Service Corporation is committed to helping improve the health and well-being of the communities that we serve. For nearly 80 years, that commitment has been reflected through social responsibility efforts that include corporate giving, local community relations, volunteerism, diversity and inclusion, ethics and compliance, wellness and sustainability initiatives. As of 2017, our signature community investment program, Healthy Kids, Healthy Families has provided more than 23 million health and wellness services to children and their families through support in areas of nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management, and supporting safe environments. To learn more about HCSC’s social responsibility efforts, please visit hcsc2017srr.com.
About Feeding America®
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together. To learn more please visit feedingamerica.org.