DETROIT, Dec. 7, 2022 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Cross Complete of Michigan and United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) today announced $243,500 in grant funding awarded to 110 food pantries as part of the Food Pantry Grant Program, to improve access to nutrient-rich foods including dairy, fruit and vegetables.
The food pantries, located in 42 counties, serve more than 56,000 Michigan residents monthly. Out of the 110 awarded organizations, 73 (66%) specifically identified seniors as a population that their food pantry serves, just one of several population groups facing higher rates of hunger and food insecurity. According to 2021 statistics from Feeding America, there are 25 counties in Michigan where 15% or more of the population is food insecure. The numbers of food-insecure children in Michigan are even higher, as there are 12 counties in which 20% or more of the children are food insecure.
“The immediate impact these food pantries will make within our state’s food ecosystem speaks directly to Blue Cross’ historic social mission: to create a healthier Michigan,” said Ken Hayward, vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Increasing the quantity of and access to healthier foods like dairy, fruits and vegetables, where refrigeration is a necessity, is just one of the program’s goals; however, reducing food and nutrition insecurity for our most at-risk populations through educational opportunities and operational efficiencies for these pantries is what will create sustainable food assistance programs for years to come.”
“Michigan Dairy Farmers work hard to ensure our neighbors have dairy at a time in their lives when they need it most,” said Brianna Henton, Youth Wellness Manager at United Dairy Industry of Michigan. “Helping to overcome nutrition insecurity in our communities remains a top priority for our organization. This grant program provides the opportunity to stock coolers with perishable items, like dairy, or provide the infrastructure to have the ability to offer fresh dairy foods at local food pantries. Everyone should have access to healthy foods, including milk and other nutritious dairy products. The Food Pantry Grant Program is a game changer and continues to make a huge impact on many lives in our communities. We are proud to be a part of this ongoing initiative.”
“One of the most important ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle is through what we eat, and this grant helps ensure the mission of these invaluable, local food pantries,” said Paul Loffreda, market president of Blue Cross Complete of Michigan. “As a Medicaid health plan, we’re committed to providing our members with nutritious resources to lead healthy lives within their communities.”
View the PDF version of this news release to see which Michigan food pantries are receiving a Food Pantry Grant.
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About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies residing outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for more than 80 years. Beyond health care coverage, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.
About Blue Cross Complete of Michigan
Blue Cross Complete of Michigan is contracted by the state of Michigan to provide medical services to eligible Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries in 32 counties. Blue Cross Complete of Michigan is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit mibluecrosscomplete.com.
About the United Dairy Industry of Michigan
The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) is dedicated to serving Michigan’s hard-working dairy farm families and promoting Michigan’s locally produced dairy products. UDIM is the umbrella organization for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Michigan. These non-profit organizations provide dairy product promotion and nutrition education services on behalf of their funding members.