INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has partnered with iHeartMedia and national nonprofit Common Threads for a week of initiatives at Brookside School 54 to provide students, families and staff with cooking and nutrition education designed to encourage lifelong healthy habits.
This effort is a continuation of the partnership which began last year when Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced it was funding a food pantry and produce garden at Brookside — an IPS K-6 school — providing a permanent resource for students and families to access and grow healthy food.
Common Threads and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield are both committed to supporting food as medicine programs. Common Threads inspires communities to embrace healthy cooking, healthy eating and the celebration of culture by providing children, families and educators with hands-on cooking and nutrition education classes.
Monday’s celebration event was the kickoff to a series of interactive nutrition and culinary programs and featured chef and student-led cooking demonstrations showing off the activities and recipes planned for the week. This nutrition education programming is designed to enhance the food pantry at the school, which continues to provide almost 2,000 pounds of fresh produce to the school and surrounding community each month.
Attendees included Beth Keyser, President, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield; iHeartMedia Region President Matt Scarano; and Common Threads Associate Director of Programs, Raquel Perez. The event was hosted by iHeartRadio Q95 host, Gunner. Parents, teachers and Anthem associate volunteers joined to support the students and the partnership.
“In addition to this expanded initiative at Brookside School, our parent company’s foundation has committed $10 million to food as medicine programs in just the last two-and-a-half years across Indiana,” said Beth Keyser, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “It’s great to be back here, working alongside community partners as we deepen our commitment to food as medicine and addressing food insecurity in the state we call home.”
Globally, one of every five deaths is attributable to a suboptimal diet, while diets rich in fruits and vegetables can significantly lower risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Students with a healthy, balanced diet are more likely to have stronger immune systems, lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, and live longer. A healthy diet can boost brain function and improve mood to make learning optimal.
“Cooking is a joyful way to improve our relationship with food no matter what age you are,” said Common Threads Executive Director Linda Novick O’Keefe. “Common Threads is committed to providing families with the knowledge and tools needed to make healthier choices. We know the simple act of selecting and preparing healthy food at home cannot only help prevent chronic disease but can also nourish us socially and emotionally. Food is often the common thread that ties us together across our differences and is “medicine” on multiple levels.”
Common Threads’ cooking and nutrition education programs equip students with the knowledge and skills to identify and cook with affordable and healthy ingredients, increase their vegetable, fruit, whole grain, and lean protein intake, and lower their sugar intake. The curriculum incorporates experiential learning, culinary medicine, and culturally responsive recipes and teaching practices to support students’ physical, social, and emotional wellbeing.
"Supporting the community is central to iHeartMedia's mission, and I'm proud to work alongside organizations like Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Common Threads and Brookside School to see how much of an impact we can make together," said Seth Zimmerman, Vice President, iHeartIMPACT. "Distributing food, bringing community partners together, helping teach healthy habits, and building awareness for nutrition education is empowering our communities. We're excited to be part of that journey."
About iHeartIMPACT & Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Partnership
iHeartIMPACT is a division of iHeartMedia that focuses on aligning brands with nonprofit organizations. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its affiliated companies are working with iHeartIMPACT to support a series of nutrition education programs in a total of six schools across Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Indianapolis. This partnership with national health and wellness organization, Common Threads, is an extension of the companies' multi-year commitment to addressing food insecurity and whole-health for communities across the country.
About Common Threads
Common Threads is a national nonprofit that provides children and families with cooking and nutrition education, equipping communities with the necessary information to make affordable, nutritious, and appealing food choices wherever they live, work, learn, and play. They have committed to serving 1.4M nutritious, student-made meals and snacks and leading 1.2M hours of nutrition education by December 2029. They aim to tackle the critical issues of limited access to healthy food and nutrition-related health disparities in communities nationwide by engaging over 260,000 participants in culturally relevant nutrition education and hands-on cooking skills programs in partnership with schools, community organizations, and healthcare institutions.
For more information about Common Threads visit commonthreads.org.