Community support has always been an important part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s (BCBSNE) culture. When Nebraska’s community needs shifted rapidly in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19), BCBSNE shifted the focus of its support in response. The company has re-aligned its community engagement efforts to help those impacted by the pandemic.

Offering financial assistance

BCBSNE has provided financial support to three local nonprofits making a difference in the community’s battle against COVID-19.

At the Open Door Mission (ODM), demand for the nonprofit’s services began to exceed supply during the pandemic. BCBSNE donated $20,000 to the nonprofit to assist in providing shelter and care for men, women and children experiencing homelessness.

Candace Gregory, ODM president and CEO, said the nonprofit will use the funds to continue offering “917 safe shelter beds, nutritious meals, children and youth programming and so much more.”

To learn more about ODM and how the nonprofit is mobilizing to care for the less fortunate, read: Open Door Mission reacts to record demand for food, shelter, health services amid pandemic.

BCBSNE has also provided financial support to the Metro Omaha Medical Society (MOMS) and Heartland United Way to help fund the creation and distribution of face masks.

Heartland United Way will provide 5,000 masks to those in need in the Grand Island community while MOMS members are rallying local sewers to create 45,000 cloth face masks to distribute to families who are unable to buy or make masks of their own.

“The MOMS mission is to be a voice for physicians and the health of our community. We can’t think of a better way to help our community in this pandemic than with helping families access masks to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Carol Wang, MOMS executive director.

Read: Wanted: Sewers for Metro Omaha Medical Society’s massive mask-making effort to learn more.

Sharing much-needed supplies

When Nebraska Medicine was running low on hand sanitizer in March, BCBSNE delivered 10 cases of antibacterial refills out of its own supply to help providers, patients and families.

Fueling frontline workers

BCBSNE has provided more than 2,700 meals to frontline health care workers at the Central District Health Department, South Heartland District Health Department, the National Guard, Mary Lanning Hospital, CHI Health St. Francis and Columbus Community Hospital.

“We wanted to lend a helping hand to those taking care of Nebraskans,” said Kathy Nellor, BCBSNE health transformation leader. “As an added bonus, distributing the meals enabled us to support local restaurants.”

Additionally, BCBSNE has supported the Salvation Army’s Heart for Our Heroes campaign. The campaign provides meals to frontline health care workers and first responders.

Aligning efforts across the nation

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plans across the nation have also re-aligned their engagement efforts. In fact, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) recently announced 36 independent BCBS plans and the BCBSA Federal Employee Program have committed nearly $3 billion in support of members, health care workers and local communities.

Read Leading in local communities for the health of America to learn more.

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