Tri-State Food Bank, Anthem partner on three-year mobile food distribution program

Travon Carbon, left, Sharon Murphy and the Rev. Andre’ Bradley load boxes of food into cars Wednesday along Plum Street during a 500-box drive-thru food distribution project at Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

Tri-State Food Bank and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced a partnership Wednesday afternoon at Mount Calvary Baptist Church on Plum Street, the site of a 500-box food giveaway.

Anthem approached Tri-State more than a year ago about collaborating because the insurance company was impressed by the food bank’s mobile distribution project. Tri-State loads semi-trucks and takes them out to rural Kentucky and Indiana towns to provide food to residents in need, removing barriers to wholesome food.

Residents of Daviess and McLean counties have benefitted from the program, which Owensboro Health funded as a pilot program three years ago. Tri-State serves eight counties in western Kentucky, but only those two are in the Messenger-Inquirer’s readership area.

At Wednesday’s food giveaway at Mount Calvary, Anthem made public its $195,000 contribution to Tri-State to support the food bank’s mobile food delivery program. The two organizations provided about 500 boxes of food to Daviess County families on Wednesday.

“This partnership with Tri-State is just one of the many ways we’re committed to improving the lives of the people in this region and the communities we serve,” said Loyd Jobe, Anthem field representative. “We are humbled to know that this support will help the food bank provide almost 500,000 meals to an estimated 15,000 households in the tri-state area who are facing food insecurity during these challenging times.”

The grant will fund 25 mobile food distribution events in Kentucky and 40 in Indiana per year for a three-year period, said Glenn Roberts, Tri-State executive director.

Tri-State targets smaller, rural towns in western Kentucky that are considered food deserts, Roberts said. Upcoming Anthem-sponsored events will not be mega giveaways, such as those on Aug. 25 at Mount Calvary and last week at the Sportscenter. More than 1,000 boxes of food were given away at each of those events.

“In rural Kentucky, it can range from 50 to 125 households,” Roberts said. “ ... We want to be very targeted. We want (food) to stay in these targeted communities.”

For that reason, Tri-State announces upcoming mobile distribution sites and dates through food pantries and churches.

It makes sense for Anthem to sponsor food distribution to those in need, Jobe said. Food is an integral part of good health and healthy choices.

“It made a great fit for both of us to partner,” he said of Anthem’s collaboration with Tri-State.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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