Buffalo, N.Y. – BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Project Play Western New York and The Teacher’s Desk, Inc. have teamed up to distribute more than 12,000 PlayPacks to Buffalo Public Schools to help keep students active, especially now, as students continue to adapt to remote learning.
The PlayPacks, which will be distributed to students in grades 4-8 at 43 Buffalo Public Schools, include a playground ball, two tennis balls, jump ropes, chalk and a “Free Play” deck of cards, featuring healthy activity challenges.
“We are so excited that the Ralph C. Wilson Jr., Foundation, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Project Play Western New York and The Teacher’s' Desk have partnered together to support our students and families during a triple pandemic— health, economic and civil unrest,” said Dr. Sue Baldwin, Supervisor of Health and Physical Education, Buffalo Public Schools. “The 12,100 physical education equipment PlayPacks will bridge health equity and gaps that many of our families face in our new fully virtual teaching environment due to COVID-19.”
“The physical and mental health benefits that play and exercise provide to children are essential for their overall development, especially now, as students continue to learn remotely,” said Julie R. Snyder, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “As the official health plan of Buffalo Public Schools, we’re proud to partner with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr., Foundation, Project Play Western New York and The Teacher’s Desk to provide opportunities for children and families to stay active and healthy while at home.”
As part of their ongoing efforts to support the community during the pandemic, BlueCross BlueShield also recently partnered with The Buffalo Sabres to distribute 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, containing a mask and hand sanitizer to local students throughout Western New York. This initiative also reached students and families in the Buffalo Public School system.
Bridget Niland, Director, Project Play Western New York, stated, “Project Play Western New York envisions a community in which all children have the opportunity to be active through sports. Keeping kids active while learning remotely can be a challenge. By equipping students in grades 4-8 with PlayPacks, they will have access to fun and fulfilling physical activities that build confidence and set them on a path for lifelong success.”
The Teachers Desk opened in October 2011 and distributes over $6,000,000 annually in new school supplies to 6,000 teachers located at 250 schools serving 150,000 students in need throughout Western New York. The local non-profit organization was essential in assembling and delivering the PlayPacks to Buffalo Public Schools.
"The Teacher's Desk is honored to be a part of distributing more than 12,000 PlayPacks for the Buffalo Public Schools. Packs filled with sporting goods, bring smiles, hope and a whole lot of exercise for students in the Buffalo Public Schools,” stated John Mika, Director, The Teacher's Desk, Inc.
As a community-based health plan, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Blue Fund donated $1 million to the WNY COVID-19 Response Fund to address the most critical and immediate community needs. The not-for-profit health plan also recently announced it distributed $2.1 million in relief for nearly 150 local primary care provider (PCP) groups through its COVID-19 Provider Relief Program (PRP). This is in addition to an $80,000 donation to 16 local organizations recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, plus a donation of five tons of food for FeedMore WNY by BlueCross BlueShield employees.
About BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a division of HealthNow New York Inc., an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. Since 1936, BlueCross BlueShield has helped millions of people lead healthier lives. BlueCross BlueShield offers a full range of insured, self-insured, and government programs and services covering businesses, families, and individuals, as well as dental and vision plans and stop-loss coverage. As a community-based, not-for-profit health plan, BlueCross BlueShield contributes significantly to organizations that strengthen and enrich the health of our community.
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