MADISON, WI, October 5, 2023 – As part of their “food as medicine” grant program, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin a $50,000 grant to support its HungerCare Wellness Program.
“As someone who grew up facing food insecurity, I am intimately aware of the struggles that low-income households face. That is why I am so proud of the work Second Harvest is doing with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation to support vulnerable members of our community – we all do better when we look out for one another,” said Senate Democratic Leader Melissa Agard (D-Madison).
The HungerCare Wellness Program began in 2016 as a pilot program to provide nutritionally tailored food boxes and education to those experiencing food insecurity and managing Type 2 diabetes. In 2019, the program expanded to include individuals managing heart disease. The future of the program is to increasingly focus on establishing partnerships in marginalized communities with the highest rates of food insecurity and nutrition-related chronic health conditions.
“Programs like the HungerCare Wellness Program are not possible without the generosity of organizations like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation,” said Michelle Orge, Second Harvest president and CEO. “Thanks to their partnership and the support of many others, we’re able to develop new ways to bring nourishing food to our neighbors and begin to realize our vision of everyone in southwestern Wisconsin having enough nutritious food to thrive.”
The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation believes that food is medicine, and that consistent access to nutritious food is an essential part of maintaining health. The Foundation has long championed better access to nutritious foods in the communities they serve through grants to nonprofit organizations.
“Research demonstrates that hunger, health, and well-being are deeply connected,” said Ted Osthelder, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicaid President in Wisconsin. “People who are food insecure are more affected than others by diet-sensitive chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Ensuring access to nutritious foods is critical for whole health and that’s why we are working alongside Second Harvest to make food more accessible and affordable, especially for our most vulnerable community members.”
Over a three-year period, the Foundation will invest up to $30 million to support programs that address food insecurity by helping individuals reach optimal health through good nutrition across the country. As of September 2023, over $27 million in food as medicine grants has been awarded.
About Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin began working with local hunger-relief agencies in 1986. It helps end hunger in 16 southwestern Wisconsin counties through food distribution to its partner agencies, promotion of outside food assistance programs like FoodShare, and raising awareness of hunger. As southwestern Wisconsin’s largest hunger-relief charity it meets nearly one million requests for help each year. From July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 Second Harvest, together with its partner agencies and programs, provided 19.7 million meals. It is one of 200 members of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. For more information, visit SecondHarvestMadison.org.
The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a philanthropic arm of the Elevance Health Foundation. The Foundation works to address health equity by focusing on improving the health of the socially vulnerable through strategic partnerships and programs in our communities with an emphasis on maternal child health; mental health; and food as medicine. Additionally, the Foundation also responds to disasters when our communities need us the most. The Foundation coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and the Elevance Health Foundation, please visit www.elevancehealth.foundation and its blog at www.medium.com/elevancehealthfoundation.
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