EAGAN, Minn., March 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to have far-reaching impacts on Minnesotans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) has committed $750,000 to Second Harvest Heartland's COVID-19 response plan.
The funding from Blue Cross will directly support Second Harvest Heartland's emergency food boxes for families facing hunger due to missed work so those impacted can access needed meals while also reducing their risk of exposure.
"The lives and health of Minnesotans have been impacted by the coronavirus in many ways," said Dr. Mark Steffen, chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. "At Blue Cross, we continue to focus on ensuring the health and safety of our members. With this funding to Second Harvest Heartland, we are also building on our long-standing commitment to creating healthier communities and addressing health inequities in the state, which is core to our nonprofit mission."
The Blue Cross contributions include a $250,000 upfront donation and up to $500,000 in additional matching funds to increase food security across Minnesota.
"We want to encourage other potential contributors to join this effort and show the collective strength of Minnesota as a community for good," continued Steffen. "We are committed to making better health possible for all Minnesotans regardless of race, income, zip code or other factors, and this is one way in which we are addressing the inequity of food access in this uncertain time. We all need to commit to taking action for the sake of our communities."
"We couldn't be more grateful that Blue Cross is stepping up in a bold way for our community during this crisis," said Second Harvest Heartland CEO Allison O'Toole. "Their investment will immediately fuel our emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic and make a difference in the futures of our neighbors in need. Blue Cross exemplifies our mission of ending hunger together and with their strong leadership and partnership we can keep Minnesota strong during these difficult and uncertain times."
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.
About Second Harvest Heartland
Second Harvest Heartland is one of the nation's largest, most efficient and most innovative hunger relief organizations. Second Harvest Heartland provides an average of 75 percent of all food distributed by its food shelf partners, and in 2019, provided more than 97 million meals to nearly 1,000 food shelves, pantries and other partner programs serving 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Second Harvest Heartland leads through innovation, finding efficient, effective solutions to connect the full resources of our community with our hungry neighbors. For more information, visit 2harvest.org or call 651.484.5117.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota