Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana announced today that it will commit $661,000 over the next three years to Community Harvest Food Bank, Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, and Hoosier Hills Food Bank. This funding will help the food banks expand their ability to deliver healthy food to Hoosiers and host additional mobile food distribution events.
Anthem’s support of these food banks expands on the company’s history of supporting Indiana’s residents and communities in addressing the many factors that influence health, including access to healthy food. Nearly one in six Hoosiers lack reliable access to healthy food – according to data available at “Close to Home,” a social driver of health information tool available through Anthem, Inc., the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
“We have been connected to Indiana communities for more than 75 years, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Hoosiers,” said Neil Steffens, President of Anthem’s Medicare Central Region. “We know that, working with Community Harvest Food Bank and Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, we will have a greater impact on the challenge of food insecurity than we would working as individual organizations.”
As the regional food bank of northeast Indiana, Community Harvest Food Bank distributes more than 14 million meals and helps more than 100,000 people annually. Through in-house hunger relief programs and member agency partnerships, the food bank serves individuals and families without access to affordable food in a nine-county service region. Mobile distributions and food transportation are a key part of Community Harvest’s operations, with more than 1.5 million pounds of food transported throughout the region each month. The Anthem-funded truck will be used for the food bank’s Farm Wagon program, which visits 44 locations per month throughout the region.
“Even in the midst of increasing food insecurity due to the pandemic, Community Harvest Food Bank has remained focused on our mission – alleviating hunger through the full use of donated food and other resources,” said John Wolf, CEO of Community Harvest Food Bank. “We are grateful to Anthem for its support of our efforts to put whole foods on the table for Indiana families in need. Through their sponsorship, we’ll be able to bring more than 300,000 pounds of food every month to Indiana families in our area.”
Through this multi-year support from Anthem, Food Bank of Northwest Indiana will be able to secure more than 648,000 pounds of food, serve more than 540,000 meals, and better assist the community through initiatives or programs such as its Mobile Market food distributions. With each Mobile Market, the Food Bank serves approximately 250 to 500 households.
“We have been a vital source of food assistance for Hoosiers in northwest Indiana for nearly 40 years and we will continue to work toward creating a community free of hunger,” said Victor Garcia, CEO of The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. “Our work with Anthem is part of our approach in collaborating with members of the community to help individuals in need. Ongoing financial support is critical to our success in meeting the ever-changing needs of our community. With this multi-year partnership, the Food Bank is better positioned to plan for and respond to the food insecurity needs of our friends and neighbors in Lake and Porter counties.”
Since 1982, Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank has been providing relief to hungry people in the Wabash Valley, including older adults who often must decide between paying for food and purchasing other daily needs, children who go to school with empty stomachs, and adults who need food to sustain their families. With Anthem’s support, Terre Haute Catholic Charities will be able to acquire enough food for as many as 430,000 meals that will help nearly 4,000 households in need over the next three years.
“We are blessed by the opportunity to partner with Anthem to support our efforts to provide nutritious food to families facing food insecurity,” stated John C. Etling, director for Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank. “Research shows that good nutrition and health go hand-in-hand. In addition to the financial support this partnership brings for continuing our Mobile Pantry distributions across our service area, Anthem will be providing families with resources to help them improve their overall health.”
Every year, Hoosier Hills Food Bank (HHFB) provides over five million pounds of food annually to nearly 100 other non-profits serving people with low incomes and personal challenges, children, and older adults. Since its founding in 1982, HHFB has been helping individuals in need across its six-county service area. Through the support provided by Anthem, HHFB will be able to procure significant amounts of additional food, which will result in serving over 1,200 people each month through a program that provides approximately 340,000 meals annually. Anthem’s support will also enable the food bank to continue special summer food distributions established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that will likely serve another 6,000 households.
“Anthem’s support through this multi-year partnership provides us with much needed stability. It will help ensure that we have a steady supply of nutritious food for our Families First mobile pantry program in four communities and enable us to continue our response to the pandemic by offering another summer of special food distributions in Monroe County,” said HHFB Executive Director and CEO Julio Alonso.
This latest financial support is part of Anthem’s ongoing efforts to address food insecurity, which also includes support of food banks in Indianapolis, Evansville, and Lafayette. In addition, earlier this year, Anthem Foundation and LISC Indianapolis launched a three-year initiative to improve nutritious food access and help build a more equitable food system.