Woman working at a food bank

How Blue Cross is Helping Detroit-Area People in Need During COVID-19

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Detroit residents were hit hard with cases, and the city and surrounding region became an early epicenter in Michigan.

The devastating health effects of the virus were compounded by job loss, school closures and lost access to other community resources. Before the pandemic, 44% of households in Southeastern Michigan struggled to afford their basic needs.

To address issues faced by people in Detroit and the surrounding region, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan provided financial support to United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which serves Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The contribution was part of a $500,000 effort supporting organizations throughout the state.

In southeast Michigan, funds provided to United Way have been used to:

  • Distribute food to students affected by school closures and other vulnerable populations that are isolated or lack access.
  • Increase the accessibility of shelter beds for people experiencing homelessness who do not have the resources needed to stay safe.
  • Help close operational funding gaps for health and human service agencies.
  • Help vulnerable people who have suffered from a loss of income and access to services.
  • Support college students who face barriers as they complete their education.

Watch a video (below) of Stacy Averill, Gleaners vice president of community giving and public relations, as she shares how the money has helped the organization and why donations are so important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to supporting United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Blue Cross and Blue Cross Complete of Michigan recently provided $100,000 to support Gleaners in their efforts to address food insecurity. The contribution will support two mobile, refrigerated fresh food transport vans to increase access to healthy food in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Monroe counties. The vans are being used to deliver perishable items like fresh milk, produce and dairy to individuals and families in need through new distribution sites during the pandemic. Read more about the vans here.

The contribution is expected to help Gleaners serve nutritious food to an additional 50,000 households each month, including those in the East Warren/Cadieux area of Detroit. In 2019, Blue Cross announced investments totaling $5 million in the neighborhood through 2022, a pledge that will help inclusive neighborhood development through Detroit’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund and Affordable Housing Leverage Fund.

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Photo credit: SDI Productions 

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