Employees of Mercy Health Systems and the City of Waldron gathered together in efforts to pack 30,000 meals for the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Fearless Food Fight campaign. Arkansas Blue Cross has committed to packing 700,000 meals in 2018, providing healthy food and fighting food insecurity in Arkansas in celebration of its 70th anniversary.
Members of the community, Mercy Health Systems and Arkansas Blue Cross employees worked elbow to elbow to pack their goal of 30,000 meals in a little more than an hour. These meals will help stock the food banks and pantries in the Scott County area.
The food pantries benefitting fromThursday’s Fearless Food Fight will be the Waldron First Baptist food pantry, Living Word Church food pantry, Waldron United Methodist Church, Waldron Church of the Nazarene food pantry and Waldron Pentecostal Church food pantry.
The meal packing event was held at Waldron First Baptist Church. Following a brief presentation led by Danny Beck, a regional executive for Arkansas Blue Cross, a ceremonial gong was sounded to start the fight against hunger.
Arkansas ranks second in the nation for food insecurity, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to a recent report, nearly 20 perfect of Arkansans (roughly 1 in 5), do not know if they will receive their next meal. The state ranks No. 1 nationally for very low food security. About 8.1 perfect of Arkansas adults and children experience deep hunger and cut back or skip meals frequently. Arkansas also ranks No. 5 for senior hunger. An estimated 240,000 Arkansans age 60 and older struggle with having enough food Nutrition is one of many social determinants of good health; therefore, it is essential to helping people have better health and a better life.
‘Arkansas Blue Cross will continue to take a multifaceted approach to improving healthcare in the state,” said Curtis Barnett, CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross. “Our company already supports and will continue to support programs addressing many social determinants of health. However, we want to make a concerted effort to work with other organizations in the state that are committed to helping people have access to nutritious food. Great work already is being done throughout Arkansas and we want to continue to do our part in helping to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to healthy food.”
“Many people from our county suffer from food insecurity and I’m very pleased to be a part of the Fearless Food Fight to help,” said Sherry Johnston, clerk treasurer for Waldron City Hall. “The Scott County Hometown Health Coalition is actively working to improve the health and well-being of our community. This opportunity, which provides complete nutritious meals to so many people, will certainly help us achieve this goal.”