LYNN — A collaborative corporate effort just made getting kids to eat healthier a lot easier.
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Massachusetts partnered with United Way in Boston delivered over 800 healthy snack packs to the Lynn Boys & Girls Club on Friday. Young members walked in after a long day at school and were able to enjoy goodie bags full of healthy treats, such as applesauce, fruit snacks, pretzels and granola bars.
“A lot of kids get their nutrition from their after school programs and the schools that they go to, and sometimes that can be the only snack or the only meal they might be getting that day,” said Lauren Jackson, manager of corporate engagement for United Way in Boston. “So our intention was to make those meals that they’re getting healthy and to help offset some of the costs for our partner agencies as well.”
United Way debuted their snack pack program last year after being fully funded for it by BCBS, their corporate partner. After receiving an influx of positive responses from the 200 other agencies they are partnered with, the non-profit organization decided to continue on with the program.
“Our team, in conjunction with some of our other agencies, worked together to decide what kind of snacks kids actually like while also still being on the healthier side,” said Jackson.
The partnered organizations utilized volunteers and corporate funds to provide and compile all the supplies needed for the snack packs, creating 3,000 in total to be dispersed across New England. In order to choose which kid programs get the delivered free snacks, United Way sends out surveys a few months in advance and then chooses which programs get what, depending on who responds.
“A lot of these kids don’t have money or anything of their own, especially to get snacks from our vending machines, so half the time our staff is giving them money out of their pockets to get something,” said Jodi Saladino, childcare director at the Lynn Boys & Girls Club. “So any extra help is really great for our kids.”
Jaslyn Munoz, an 8-year-old who attends Ingalls Elementary School, walked into her after school program to see the bags of snacks dispersed all over the room. She quickly ran over, grabbed a snack pack, and started enjoying it with her friends.
“I like eating healthy because you can get healthy teeth, and sometimes it helps you from not getting any cavities,” she said. “It’s really nice they came to give us these snacks.”