United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley

March 27, 2017

Blue Cross Blue Shield and The Power of Snack Time

From healthy snacks for children in need to financial opportunity for families, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is committed to building a healthy community.

When you think about it, the links are clear:

Families struggling to make ends meet can’t always provide nutritious food for their children. Kids who are hungry can’t focus or learn well. School meals and after school programs are often the most reliable sources of healthy food for a child. Children in families who are behind on rent and basic needs are more likely to be in poor health and hungry, contributing to below average growth and developmental delays.

All of this also contributes to higher health costs for everyone. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts understands these links better than most.

healthy living kits

Over the next two weeks, as part of their annual United Way giving campaign, teams of volunteer employees dubbed the “Blue Crew” will put together 1,300 Healthy Living Kits and 1,500 Healthy Snack Packs for 2,800 local children. The packages will be distributed to children through United Way’s network of early childhood and after school programs in April during the school vacation week.

This timing is important, because when school is closed for breaks, thousands of students in Massachusetts lose access to free or reduced meals.

The Healthy Living Kits come in a cinch backpack and include a Frisbee, jump rope, healthy snack, healthy recipe cards, and binoculars to encourage kids to explore their environments, get active and eat healthy. The Healthy Snack Packs include a bottle of water, granola bars, pretzels, apple sauce and other nutritious foods.

“Our work in the community is focused on helping people throughout the Commonwealth thrive as healthy and engaged citizens,” said Jeff Bellows, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs. “Our Healthy Living Kits and Healthy Snack Packs are a great way to promote healthy active lifestyles and healthy eating. Thanks to United Way, one of our most valued community partners, for helping us get these backpacks to children at the organization they support.”

Beyond snack time

Healthy snacks and activities are great, Blue Cross knows that supporting families in need – helping to provide things like housing, financial opportunity and educational success for children and youth – all work together to create a healthier community.

And that’s why they partner with United Way.

Through their annual giving campaign, Blue Cross Blue Shield also supports United Way’s housing and homelessness efforts and financial opportunity programs. In fact, a 2015 Blue Cross Blue Shield report found that “providing housing support for low-income, high-need individuals results in net savings due to reduced health care costs.” The report further notes how “in some studies, the medical savings more than offset the additional costs of providing housing supports. The net savings range from $9,000 per person per year to nearly $30,000 per person per year for the Housing First model.”

So take it from the experts: building a healthier community means investing in the financial opportunity and educational success of children and families in need.