The holidays are a time for giving; giving to friends and family, and giving back to the community. One of the ways the employees at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska give back is through the Salvation Army Adopt-a-Family program.  Since 2000, departments throughout the company have adopted families and seniors in need. With more than 20 departments involved, each area has their own unique way of participating in the program.

The entire Customer Service department participates in the Adopt-a-Family experience. Each year they create a giving tree and add ornaments representing a gift their family or senior has requested. The employees then take an ornament for the gift they would like to purchase.

Once all the gifts are purchased, they have a day-long wrapping party that concludes with the delivery of the gifts.

“We love getting the whole department to participate,” said Customer Service Manager Brandi Hobbs. “Whether it’s buying presents, wrapping or delivering, it’s a great way to not only give back to the community, but build our team relationships as well.”

This year, the Customer Service department was able to adopt two seniors and four families with a total of seven children.

Account Management and Underwriting teamed up and used money collected from the snack boxes set out all year long as well as donations from team members to purchase gifts for their families and seniors.

Designated shoppers determine a theme for the gifts and comb through black Friday ads to find the best deals. Then they assemble, wrap and deliver the gifts.

“I love having the opportunity to deliver gifts to these families and seniors,” Mandy Driggs, account specialist said. “I’ve witnessed everything from tears to hugs. Each family is different, but the common theme is gratitude.”

The Healthcare Delivery Engagement team adopted 10 families and 5 seniors this year. They even arranged for some families to come to BCBSNE to pick up their gifts, so more team members were able to see the impact on those receiving the gifts.

No matter how it’s accomplished, the end goal is the same – helping others.

“I’ve participated in the Adopt-a-Family program since it began in 2000,” said Christy Kofoed, manager, Clinical Support. “It brings us together to help make a memorable holiday for those in need.  This is my most favorite event we do all year!  Nothing is better than seeing a family not have to worry about having gifts for their children and to be able to give something to the parents too.”