LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (March 12, 2018) – Sporting hairnets, plastic gloves and great
attitudes, more than 150 Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees gathered
today to kick off the Fearless Food Fight, a campaign to fight hunger in Arkansas. As
part of Arkansas Blue Cross’ 70th anniversary, the organization has committed to
providing healthy food and fighting food insecurity in Arkansas.
Company leadership has set a goal to pack 700,000 meals by December 2018, working
elbow to elbow with the state’s residents. Arkansas Blue Cross will reach out to
schools, businesses and community organizations to help pack the meals and stock
food banks and pantries in the state’s most vulnerable areas.
Union Station in Little Rock was the site of the first meal packing event. The goal was
to pack 30,000 meals. Following a brief ceremony led by Curtis Barnett, president and
chief executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross, a ceremonial gong was sounded to start
the fight against hunger.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ranks Arkansas second in the
country for the number of people facing food insecurity. According to the recent
report, 19.7 percent, or roughly 1 in 5 Arkansans, do not know where their next meal
will come from. The state ranks No. 1 nationally for very low food security. About 8.1
percent of Arkansas adults and children experience deep hunger and cut back or skip
meals frequently. Arkansas also ranks No. 5 for senior hunger. An estimated 240,000
Arkansans age 60 and older struggle with having enough food.
Nutrition is one of many social determinants of good health; therefore, it is essential
to helping people have better health and a better life.
“Arkansas Blue Cross will continue to take a multifaceted approach to improving
healthcare in the state,” said Barnett. “Our company already supports and will
continue to support programs addressing many social determinants of health.
“However, we want to make a concerted effort to work with other organizations in
the state that are committed to helping people have access to nutritious food. Great
work already is being done throughout Arkansas and we want to continue to do our
part in helping to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to healthy food.”
Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of
the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas.
Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,700 employees.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is comprised of 36 independent,
community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans that
collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 106 million members — one
in three Americans.
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