BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation Join Forces with Senior Resources to Combat Food Insecurity for Vulnerable Elders in South Carolina
April 28, 2020
Columbia, S.C. — BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation have joined together with Senior Resources to provide emergency food assistance beginning now into early summer in counties throughout the state.
The health insurer and its foundation are combining resources and providing nearly $1.6 million to expand Senior Resources’ emergency senior nutrition program, which is giving five free meals weekly to eligible homebound elderly. The contribution is anticipated to provide 245,000 meals.
This unique model, currently offered in Richland County, will initially expand into Anderson, Clarendon, Lexington and Richland counties. Early next month, the program will be extended into Barnwell, Calhoun, Fairfield, Greenville, Horry, Kershaw, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg and Williamsburg counties. Local distribution points will be set up with local agencies that work with seniors.
Based on data from the South Carolina Department on Aging, 200,000 South Carolinians over 60 years of age are food insecure. Food insecurity is defined as being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the number of affected individuals.
According to David Pankau, president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the health insurer and its foundation were compelled to contribute because of the immediacy of the need and the growing scale of the problem. He said, “BlueCross and the BlueCross Foundation have long histories of supporting organizations that serve our state’s most vulnerable citizens. This was a meaningful action we could take that would meet an unmet need and help people’s lives in basic and necessary ways.”
Andrew Boozer, executive director of Senior Resources, Inc. confirmed that the problem is reaching crisis levels. He said, “Senior citizens continue to be at-risk of COVID-19 spread and dire health complications from the virus. Since the outbreak began in South Carolina, the network of senior nutrition providers in the state have seen food needs increase as isolation and limited resources have made many food insecure for the first time in their lives. The commitment of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina to meet the needs in our communities will provide food access to the thousands of seniors in need of food.”
About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., and operating in South Carolina for more than 70 years, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 20 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health programs and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.
About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation
Headquartered in Columbia, the foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Its mission is to promote and support healthier South Carolinians, particularly the economically vulnerable, by supporting solutions to address gaps in health care and serving as an agent of change to support innovation and value-added public-private partnerships. The foundation website can be found at www.bcbsscfoundation.org.