As an organization that supports the health and wellness of more than 106 million Americans, we recognize how important it is for us to address one of the most critical issues affecting our nation’s health: food insecurity. Mobilized by our culture and commitment to community, our associates have been compelled to act. And with 54 million Americans estimated to experience food insecurity in 2020, the actions of our associates are more important than ever.
Our marquee volunteer event is our annual season of service when associates serve and strengthen the communities in which they live and work. In 2019, thousands of associates volunteered their time and talents to support their neighbors who experience food insecurity. Building on that success, and to adapt to the food crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, we prioritized this year’s events to take place in September during Hunger Action Month, with service projects underway for associates across our markets.
Anthem Volunteer Days is just one component of our year-round portfolio of associate engagement programs, which collectively resulted in more than 100,000 hours served last year. Our associates understand how the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and have committed themselves to combating this issue in their local communities in a variety of ways.
Bridging language barriers
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana is one of Anthem’s long-time community partners, and when our associates learned their staff couldn’t support bilingual language requests, they stepped up. SOMOS, Anthem’s Hispanic Associate Resource Group, volunteered to make phone calls to Spanish-speaking community members across Central Indiana to help fill out their food request forms accurately and answer their questions. They receive names and phone numbers nearly every day and lend their time to ensure relief is quickly delivered. This support is critical in ensuring these individuals and families receive healthy, nutritious food. SOMOS has made around 400 calls since April.
“Our volunteers are not just making calls—they are making an impact. The people we are helping have limited English proficiency and this pandemic is scary enough for those of us who speak English fluently. We are helping them bridge the gap between hunger and hope.”
-Angela Lopez, SOMOS Indiana Chapter Lead
In light of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, Anthem’s African American Professional Exchange (APEX) Associate Resource Group wanted to ensure associates were still able to make an impact on the fight against hunger in a safe and convenient way. Working with the Anthem Foundation, APEX organized a virtual food drive that allows associates to purchase food items that will be automatically delivered to their state’s neediest Feeding America food bank. Their goal is to reach 20,000 items donated this month.
“We understand the impact food insecurity has on children and families in the U.S and worldwide. Even our own Anthem associates have felt the effects of food insecurity which impacts health outcomes, quality of life and more—which is why APEX creates national and local level campaigns to help thousands of consumers through community partnerships with the Anthem Foundation and other external organizations.”
-APEX Enterprise Leadership Team
Food insecurity has been a major focus at Anthem for a long time—and it’s our associates that have enabled us to do even more. Because of their deep roots in our communities, we’ve been able to ramp up our support and meet the increased needs of our most vulnerable consumers.