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Blue Shield of California Provides $150,000 Support to Help Address Poverty, Homelessness, and Food Insecurity in the San Joaquin Valley

Funds to support community-based organizations that provide residents with access to fresh produce, job skills, and housing services

OAKLAND, Calif. (February 15, 2022) – Blue Shield of California today announced $150,000 in community investments in the San Joaquin Valley to promote health equity and help build healthy families.

Six community-based organizations throughout the region will each receive $25,000 to help support initiatives that provide fresh groceries, hands-on job training, and housing services. 

“Basic needs such as access to nutritious food and housing are critical for creating equitable health for all,” said Kristen Cerf, president and CEO, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. “We are very honored to collaborate with local organizations and provide our support on projects that build healthier communities. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of individuals and families throughout the San Joaquin Valley.”

One of those nonprofits is the Kings/Tulare Homeless Alliance, a consortium of partners that includes homeless service providers, advocacy groups, government agencies, and homeless individuals who collaborate to address the needs of the unhoused in the San Joaquin Valley.

“With the pandemic still in full swing and the economy not lifting up all people, these are critical times,” said Miguel Perez, executive director of the Alliance. “This funding from Blue Shield is coming at the right time for us and will be a huge lift as we continue to provide our most vulnerable community members with the resources they need to flourish.”

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance VITA Program
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program in Kern County

Additional organizations receiving Blue Shield’s support.

  • Community Action Partnership of Kern is the official anti-poverty agency in Kern CountyThe organization offers a variety of programs in collaboration with local community-based organizations to help at-risk residents combat food insecurity and malnutrition, secure homeless services, and receive child development and family support services. 
  • Community Action Partnership of Madera is the county’s anti-poverty agency, providing resources to low- and moderate-income residents annually through its broad range of programs and resources including emergency shelter, victim services, and child development services. 
  • Kings Community Action Organization is the federally designated anti-poverty agency for Kings County, providing support to low-income residents by administering a full range of coordinated programs, including homeless services, food distribution, and community outreach.
  • Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit organization that serves the needs of over 10,000 refugees in the Fresno area, providing cross-cultural resources, consultations, and referrals. 
  • Fresno Metro Ministry is a nonprofit working to address the social, economic, health, and safety issues experienced by children and families in disinvested neighborhoods. Their goal is to increase resiliency, health, and prosperity through services addressing food insecurity and malnutrition.

"This timely gift will help us close gaps and fully fund the infrastructure needed to expand our local food system programs,” said Keith Bergthold, executive director of Fresno Metro Ministry. “We are grateful for Blue Shield of California’s support.” 

Today’s announcement is the latest example of the nonprofit health plan’s ongoing support for communities throughout the state.

For example, during this past challenging 2021 holiday season, Blue Shield of California and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan provided more than $200,000 in financial assistance to over 80 community organizations dedicated to addressing food insecurity across California. This support helped provide food, supplies, and holiday meals to more than 66,000 Californians and 16,000 families. 

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About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.5 million members, over 7,500 employees and more than $21 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $150 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last four years to have an impact on California communities. 

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