Subtitle Sets a goal to pack 700,000 meals in 2018 Little Rock – Sporting hairnets, plastic gloves and great attitudes, more than 150 Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees gathered today to kick off the Fearless Food Fight, a campaign to fight hunger in Arkansas. As part of Arkansas Blue Cross’ 70th anniversary, the organization has committed to providing healthy food and fighting food insecurity in Arkansas. Company leadership has set a goal to pack 700,000 meals by December 2018, working elbow to elbow with the state’s residents. Arkansas Blue Cross will reach out to schools, businesses and community organizations to help pack the meals and stock food banks and pantries in the state’s most vulnerable areas. Union Station in Little Rock was the site of the first meal packing event. The goal was to pack 30,000 meals. Following a brief ceremony led by Curtis Barnett, president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross, a ceremonial gong was sounded to start the fight against hunger. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ranks Arkansas second in the country for the number of people facing food insecurity. According to the recent report, 19.7 percent, or roughly 1 in 5 Arkansans, do not know where their next meal will come from. The state ranks No. 1 nationally for very low food security. About 8.1 percent of Arkansas adults and children experience deep hunger and cut back or skip meals frequently. Arkansas also ranks No. 5 for senior hunger. An estimated 240,000 Arkansans age 60 and older struggle with having enough food. Nutrition is one of many social determinants of good health; therefore, it is essential to helping people have better health and a better life. “Arkansas Blue Cross will continue to take a multifaceted approach to improving healthcare in the state,” said Barnett. “Our company already supports and will continue to support programs addressing many social determinants of health. “However, we want to make a concerted effort to work with other organizations in the state that are committed to helping people have access to nutritious food. Great work already is being done throughout Arkansas and we want to continue to do our part in helping to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to healthy food.” Find out more about the Fearless Food Fight at http://www.arkansasbluecross.com/FearlessFoodFight/default.aspx Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. Arkansas Blue Cross and its affiliates have more than 2,700 employees.