$22k Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island grant will help support Healthy Foods, Healthy Families program
Farm Fresh Rhode Island has received a 2019 BlueAngel Community Health Grant (BACHG) from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). The $22,000 grant will provide parents and children with resources to shop for and prepare healthy meals through the farmers market-based education program: Healthy Foods, Healthy Families.
Since the inception of the BlueAngel Community Health Grants in 2002, BCBSRI has donated more than $3.8 million to local nonprofits, impacting 300,000 Rhode Islanders. The BACHG program is BCBSRI’s cornerstone grant program, supporting nonprofit organizations working to address critical health issues in Rhode Island. For the past five years, BACHG funding has focused on Rhode Island organizations promoting the importance of good nutrition, physical activity and healthy weight for children and their families.
“Last summer, 380+ low-income families learned about nutrition and locally grown food options with us—a majority reporting the program led to an increase in their family’s overall fruit and veggie consumption,” said Onelissa Martinez, Nutrition Education Program Manager at Farm Fresh RI. “Thanks to this BlueAngel Community Health Grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI, we will be able to empower more Rhode Island families with the information and tools to make healthy choices and invest in their health and communities.”
Farm Fresh RI’s Healthy Foods, Healthy Families program delivers interactive food and nutrition workshops at farmers markets for 400 families who receive federal food assistance from WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Provided in English and Spanish, the program empowers parents and children with the tools to shop for affordable, seasonal foods and prepare them in kid-friendly ways.
“Childhood obesity is a major public health crisis in the country and in our state. In fact, Rhode Island continues to rank among the top 15 states with the highest obesity rates in children. Childhood overweight and obesity results in dangerous health impacts and significant cost impacts, and we believe we can and must do more to stem this epidemic,” said Kim Keck, president and CEO of BCBSRI. “Our support for organizations like Farm Fresh Rhode Island enables them to continue effectively addressing social and environmental factors that lead to overweight and obesity – particularly for low-income families in our state.”
According to Keck, BACHG programs underscore BCBSRI’s commitment to the state made at the company’s founding 80 years ago. “Our first 80 years were marked by ongoing efforts focused on improving the health of Rhode Islanders. Looking forward, we will reinforce and expand those efforts to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island. We cannot ignore the consequences of childhood obesity and its impact on public health in our state, including shortened life expectancy and billions of dollars of cost impact,” said Keck. “That’s why our continued partnerships with organizations combating obesity at the community level are so critical.”
In all, BCBSRI awarded $218,000 in BACHG funding for 2019. Funding is made available through the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Community Health Fund maintained at the Rhode Island Foundation.
About Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Farm Fresh RI is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2004. The local food hub’s mission is to grow a food system in Southern New England that values the environment, health and quality of life for both the farmers and eaters in the region. To build healthier communities, increase access to fresh food, strengthen community-based businesses, and improve the impact of food production and distribution on the environment, Farm Fresh RI offers a wide range of programs and services that support hundreds of farmers and food producers, and connect tens of thousands of consumers to locally grown food each year. Farm Fresh RI farmers markets and transparent enterprise systems help local farmers, fishers, and small food businesses reach more customers. And the organization’s work with the community through outreach, nutrition incentives, and educational programs help increase the accessibility and affordability of fresh, local foods.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is a non-profit, community-focused health plan established in 1939 to help Rhode Islanders finance their healthcare needs. Today, that purpose is still foundational to our work. We have a vision to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island. And we are committed to improving the health and peace of mind of our nearly 400,000 members by facilitating their access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. We are an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Listen to BCBSRI’s podcast, The Rhode to Health.
Farm Fresh Rhode Island Contact:
Rebecca C. Seggel