“Fresh Fridge” program to expand, providing fresh food to vulnerable Kentuckians

By Quin Welch, Building Kentucky

With the holiday season underway and the need for fresh food increasing in the Commonwealth – currently 12.3% of  Kentuckians struggle with food insecurity – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky is partnering with community organizations across the Bluegrass to provide nutritious food to families through Anthem Medicaid’s “Fresh Fridge” program. The initiative grants new refrigeration units to community organizations that distribute large amounts of perishable food to those in need.

“We are proud to help our neighbors throughout Kentucky access fresh, nutritious food and to ease the burden on families, especially during the holidays and into the new year,” said Leon Lamoreaux, President, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid in Kentucky. “Food insecurity has significant detrimental effects on health, especially in children, and can leave devastating, long-lasting impacts. The ‘Fresh Fridge’ program reflects our commitment to innovative approaches to support the whole health needs of communities across Kentucky.”

To date, Anthem Medicaid has donated $5,000 to Henderson Christian Community Outreach in Henderson, and $5,000 to Water Into Wine Food Pantry in Salyersville. In 2023, Anthem Medicaid plans to open additional “Fresh Fridge” locations in some of Kentucky’s most food-insecure cities. Anthem Medicaid also pledged to donate an additional $15,000 to the community-based organizations fighting hunger in these critical areas.

“Our new ‘Fresh Fridge’ opens up a world of possibilities, giving us more flexibility in the donations we can receive and the food we can provide,” said Kathy Patton, Executive Director at Henderson Christian Community Outreach. “Now, we can accept more, store more and distribute more fruits and vegetables to children and families who need it most.”

Jeffery Tackett of Water Into Wine Food Pantry echoed Patton’s gratitude and said the new “Fresh Fridge” in Salyersville will be a game-changer for his organization.

“Storing and distributing perishable food to those in need is a difficult task, but this larger, more reliable refrigeration unit will allow us the opportunity to expand our operations and serve more people here in Magoffin County,” Tackett said. The “Fresh Fridge” program is part of Anthem Medicaid’s ongoing efforts to holistically address various social drivers that impact the health outcomes of its members and at-risk Kentuckians. Since the start of the pandemic, Anthem Medicaid has donated over $2.2 million to reduce food insecurity throughout the state.

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