To recognize Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' 75th anniversary, four local not-for-profits each received a $75,000 grant to promote nutrition education and access to healthy foods. The 75th Anniversary Grants were awarded to the Urban Food Initiative of Boston; Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council; Project Bread in partnership with Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc.; and Boston Natural Areas Network.
"For 75 years, Blue Cross has maintained a deep commitment to improving health outcomes and the quality of life for residents of the Commonwealth," said Andrew Dreyfus, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. "Many families continue to face financial hardship as a result of the economic downturn. With growing demand and shrinking resources, the safety-net services they turn to are severely strained. The 75th Anniversary Grants will help advance critical programs in the communities at greatest risk."
The four not-for-profit organizations were selected after a competitive process challenging them to develop programs to improve the lives of struggling families with children school-aged or younger in Massachusetts. Each organization takes a unique approach to advancing the health and nutrition of families facing economic hardship throughout the state.
Project Bread in partnership with Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc.
In partnership with Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc., Project Bread will improve the quality of meals served to children attending the Head Start program. Kids and their families will benefit from nutrition education, local shopping trips, cooking lessons, and access to healthy food options. The program seeks to create a replicable model that will transform the eating experiences of Head Start children both in the program and at home.
Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council
The Council is implementing a comprehensive nutrition education program geared towards influencing the eating habits of nearly two hundred kindergarten students and their families located in three critical-need elementary schools in Holyoke. The program provides education about eating and growing fresh produce and features frequent field trips to local-area farms.
The Urban Food Initiative
By partnering with local grocery stores, the Urban Food Initiative will offer high-quality food at a fraction of typical prices at neighborhood retail stores in the City of Boston - providing economic relief for Massachusetts' families. In addition to providing access to more affordable food, the organization will create new jobs for local residents.
Boston Natural Areas Network
Dorchester residents will have greater access to fresh, affordable produce after Boston Natural Areas Network doubles the amount of community gardening plots from two-hundred and fifty