DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) will provide $500,000 over three years to No Kid Hungry North Carolina, an initiative of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, to fight child food insecurity and provide more healthy meals for kids who need them in North Carolina. This will support the work of public schools and community organizations that serve meals to children, many of whom depend on these programs for their daily nutrition.
“Blue Cross NC is committed to tackling childhood hunger in our state,” said Cheryl Parquet, Blue Cross NC director of community and diversity engagement. “Every child should have access to nutritious food, and we’re proud to support the school systems and community organizations that are on the front lines of the fight against food insecurity.”
Summer and afterschool meals through these federal programs are offered at no cost to children. Of the nearly 1.5 million public school students in North Carolina, almost 60 percent qualify for free or reduced-price (FRP) meals, including school breakfast, according to data from the NC Department for Public Instruction.
"The commitment that Blue Cross NC is making to students through their support of No Kid Hungry North Carolina is extraordinary,” said Dr. Alice Ammerman, Director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the home of No Kid Hungry North Carolina. “We have long understood the important role of nutritious food to sustain a healthy life. This is particularly true for children and adolescents, so it is crucial to support those who depend on federally-funded meals served at school and in the community in order to thrive. This initiative funded by Blue Cross NC and implemented by No Kid Hungry will surely have a positive impact on child food insecurity across our state."
During the next three school calendar years, beginning with 2019-2020, Blue Cross NC funding will allow No Kid Hungry North Carolina to issue grants to schools and community organizations committed to increasing access to nutritious meals at school, after school, and in the summer months. These grants will support innovative steps to increase participation in existing programs and start-up expenses to begin new ones.
Additionally, this collaboration will include Blue Cross NC employees volunteering to provide enrichment activities for kids in summer meal programs.
In North Carolina, the school breakfast and summer meals programs are managed by the NC Department of Public Instruction, while the afterschool meals program is managed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Since it was founded in 2011, No Kid Hungry North Carolina has worked closely with both state agencies – and with many other partners – to promote and expand these nutrition programs.
Support for distributing the Blue Cross NC grant funds will come from Share Our Strength, the organization behind the national No Kid Hungry campaign. No Kid Hungry North Carolina is a public-private coalition. This partnership between Share Our Strength and the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention is ending childhood hunger in North Carolina by ensuring that kids get the food they need.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 74 bachelor’s, 104 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools including the College of Arts & Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s nearly 336,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories and 164 countries. More than 178,000 live in North Carolina.
About No Kid Hungry North Carolina
No Kid Hungry North Carolina is a public-private coalition working to end childhood hunger. The partnership between Share Our Strength and UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention is ending childhood hunger in North Carolina by ensuring kids get the food they need by increasing access to federal child nutrition programs for school breakfast, afterschool meals, and summer meals. No Kid Hungry North Carolina was founded in 2011 in partnership with state leaders. In 2014, it became an initiative of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.