When most people think of summer, they think of swimming pools, popsicles and, of course, baseball; however, for some, summer means hunger. That’s why Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) joined Food Bank for the Heartland’s Strike Out Hunger campaign, which helps address food insecurity.

During the month of June, organizations and their employees across the metro area could donate food, contribute funds or volunteer at Food Bank for the Heartland – BCBSNE employees did all three.

From dropping off food donations at Blue Cross Centre to contributing funds to an online portal and scooping, packaging and labeling pasta at the Food Bank for the Heartland Volunteer Center, employees gave it their all to help the food bank fill its shelves.

“Our employees really stepped up to the plate during this campaign,” said Kathy Nellor, health transformation leader at BCBSNE. “We had around 100 employees participate, which meant we were able to donate $4,235 in funds, 103 pounds of goods and 105 hours of volunteering.”

The campaign was set up as a friendly competition between local organizations that could boost their spot on the scoreboard by donating more meals, all while benefitting the cause. One dollar donated equaled four meals, 1.2 pounds of goods donated equaled one meal and one person volunteering for one hour equaled 100 meals.

The companies with the most meals donated per employee in each division and most meals donated overall in each division won the coveted Strike Out Hunger traveling plaques.

Placed in the Wild Cards Division with other 1,000+ employee organizations, BCBSNE finished fourth with over 27,000 meals donated. In total, Strike Out Hunger raised 716,963 meals – a 542% increase from last year.

“With inflation and other economic hardships impacting the Heartland, the need is so great right now,” Chad Werner, BCBSNE’s chief financial officer and Food Bank for the Heartland board member, said. “It was so great to see our employees show up and make an impact on this campaign and an organization that is so near and dear to me.”

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