Throughout our 80-year presence in Kansas City, we’ve been committed to supporting local charities and community organizations that advance health services and community wellness, education and community enrichment and arts, culture and civic engagement. Last year alone we supported 312 organizations, and Blue KC employees volunteered more than 10,000 hours in the community. We are proud of our long history of volunteerism to help create a stronger, happier future for Kansas City.
But now we see an even greater need in our community, and know that we can make a larger impact by focusing our efforts around a central community impact platform.
Food touches everyone. What you put in your body matters, and having access to nutritious foods helps you power through each day. However, more than 350,000 people in Kansas City and the surrounding region don’t know where their next meal will come from. More than 100,000 of this population is children, and a lack of access to good nutrition jeopardizes their long-term health and overall wellbeing.
That’s why we launched a new chapter in our commitment to the health and wellbeing Kansas City community. Addressing the root of hunger and the health problems that stem from that can lift not only those individuals and families who are affected, but the entire community.
Well Stocked is our new signature community impact program that’s dedicated to increasing access to nutritious food in underserved areas of our city. We believe that that by ensuring access to nourishing food, and teaching awareness along the way, we can work to give all Kansas Citians the building blocks to a healthy life.
This initiative deepens our partnerships with local organizations, primarily focused through an expanded relationship with our long-time partner Harvesters—The Community Food Network. With Harvesters, we’ll mobilize efforts to meet people where they are in the community and provide the food they need to thrive.
We recently held an insightful Food 4 Thought panel – one of three that we will co-host with Harvesters throughout this year to bring awareness and convene conversations around solutions to this issue. The event featured Valerie Nicholson-Watson, President and CEO of Harvesters, Adriana Pecina, Program Officer at Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. As a board of health and community devotees, we discussed the prevalence of this issue, and how community organizations can come together to increase food access.
We matched this with a donation of more than $15,000 raised by our employees, all of which will provide healthy meals to children and families across the Harvesters’ network. These donations will directly address the greater need for regular, nutritious meals during the summer months when school is out and food donations slow.
By joining together, we will be able to shine a light on this issue and provide support to the many lives marked by it in our community. If you would like to get involved, attend the next Blue KC Food 4 Thought event, or simply find out more about the Well Stocked program, visit our Well Stocked webpage and follow Blue KC’s Facebook and Twitter for future events and opportunities to join.
Manager, Community Relations and Investment
Macaela Stephenson is the Manager of Community Relations and Investment at Blue KC. Macaela is responsible for overseeing philanthropic giving, internal and external volunteering, sponsorships, community partnerships and Blue KC’s giving strategy, including corporate social responsibility.