TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE:WCG) announced during a ceremony that included Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and community leaders that it is providing financial and personnel resources to support the city's Shalom Zone neighborhoods. The Shalom initiative brings together businesses with civic, governmental and religious organizations to revitalize neighborhoods.
The $15,000 funding will go to the city of Macon -- Austin Smith Center for Development to support health initiatives and community gardens in the Shalom Zone Communities. WellCare is committing additional resources to initiate 28 community-based health activities and to assist with seven community gardens.
"Each Macon-area Shalom Zone has identified priorities in the following areas: education, housing, economic development, community engagement and health," said Frank Austin, founder and executive director of the Austin Smith Center for Development. "WellCare is a national leader in addressing the health needs of the children and families we work with, and we are fortunate to partner with them to assist in identifying and implementing health initiatives and activities that will benefit these neighborhoods."
"WellCare has made a commitment to promote healthy lifestyles to help build healthier communities," said Alicia Johnson, WellCare's director of Medicaid marketing in Georgia. "It is exciting to be a part of Macon's Shalom Zone movement, whose mission to enhance neighborhoods and lives for future generations aligns with WellCare's mission to serve our members and the communities in which they live."
The first community-based health activity took place at Evergreen Church of Macon and featured free vision screenings for children and families.
WellCare's community garden efforts are targeted at supporting healthy eating habits among youth and their families. The community gardens are providing easy access to nutritionally rich foods that may otherwise be unavailable to low-income families, while encouraging a sense of community ownership.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, community gardens may offer additional physical and mental health benefits by providing opportunities to engage in physical activity and skill building, while helping to reduce violence and improve social well-being through the strengthening of social connections.
"Eating locally-produced fresh fruits and vegetables promotes more adequate intake which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and obesity," said Dr. John Alexander Johnson, senior medical director for WellCare in Georgia. "Studies have also shown that community gardeners and their children eat healthier, more nutrient-rich diets than non-gardening families."
The seven Shalom Zones where community gardens will be located are: Bealls Hill, Bellevue, East Macon, Lynmore Estates, Pleasant Hill, Unionville and Village Green.
For more information or to participate in WellCare's health initiatives and community gardens in Macon contact Anthony Hill at 478-283-1747.
As of June 30, 2015, WellCare serves approximately 594,000 Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids® plan members, 33,500 Medicare Advantage plan members and 23,500 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Georgia. To learn more about how we care for Georgians watch Gloria's story at http://youtu.be/qyn-nywze04.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. The Company serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of June 30, 2015. For more information about WellCare, please visit the Company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.