Volunteering our time and expertise
As a Massachusetts-based, not-for-profit health plan, we’ve always provided our employees the opportunity to volunteer their time, skills and expertise to improve the health of communities where they live and work – and during 2020, many found creative new ways to help others.
Each year, our employees traditionally volunteer tens of thousands of hours at more than a hundred nonprofits across Massachusetts. When the pandemic hit, nonprofits were facing greater demands than ever, and our team was eager to help. So, we swiftly redesigned our approach to community service, with both virtual and in-person volunteering, to help our nonprofit partners safely and effectively fulfill their missions.
Personal protective equipment
“I blew the dust off my sewing machine and started making masks!”
During the early days of the pandemic, clinicians, caregivers and other essential workers struggled to find enough personal protective equipment. We helped fund the purchase of personal protective equipment for teachers and donated 1,600 N95 masks to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. Blue Cross employees also turned to their home sewing machines and 3D printers to make nearly 20,000 masks and face shields, including 3,000 for community hospitals.
A week to serve, learn, reflect and imagine
Our 10th annual company-wide service event was reinvented to respond to the twin crises of COVID-19 and racial injustice, with an emphasis on employee education and engagement. We also extended our activities to a full week, rather than the traditional day of service in September. Nearly 2,800 Blue Cross employees volunteered to participate in 65 virtual and in-person service projects, contributing to 70 nonprofits across Massachusetts.
- [Music] When I look back I just think the impact of 10 years of service has really been extraordinary and although we've changed our model this year, the spirit of one community one blue is unwavering. We've been talking about disparities for a long time but they are simply symptoms they are downstream consequences of root causes upstream. Essentially what we're doing today is we're sprucing up and beautifying a local park that gets heavily utilized, folks in Chelsea really need some life and excitement to bring back the feeling of community and the sense of hope and resiliency. As a community we have faced so many challenges socioeconomic disparities, inequalities and health and racial challenges, too often the path of my community and the issues that we care deeply about is determined by individuals or groups that don't look or think like us. The Blue Crew associates are here today helping us prepare clothing, face masks, hygiene kits and art and school supplies to get kids ready for everything they're going to be doing through the winter. Cradles to Crayons is so proud to partner with you again this year for this wonderful initiative. There are a lot of needs out there and there's more than we could possibly ever address as organizations and programs so the more people who wrap themselves around a desire can really dig in the better off we'll all be. Today you're doing Kids Who Care. The project basically is three bags in a box a variety of like nine items of food for a client and I’m here to instruct you to get that done so we can be finished by 4 o'clock. Blue Cross Blue Shield is working on planting garlic working on weeding out some of our plants and vegetables that we use for our markets, we also have some volunteers here today working on setting up seed trays for our elementary school kid program. Because of Blue Cross's involvement today it's going to help us continue to feed the community. With all of the disparities with everything that we're seeing asking the question why are things this way is so powerful and will lead to lasting change together all of us are called I believe in this moment to make a change and the change really does begin within each of us.