New York Giants Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s Dreambuilders program, Blessings in a Backpack and UnitedHealthcare are providing healthy meals to 250 children at PS 15 in Manhattan, and PS 502 and PS 102 in Brooklyn every weekend for a year.
Dreambuilders and UnitedHealthcare today kicked off this year’s “food for children” initiative with fun-filled, healthy activities for students at PS 15. Dominique went toe-to-toe with students, testing their health knowledge on topics such as healthy eating and exercise; taking them through some football-style warm-ups; and throwing the football with the students. He also talked to them about the importance of being physically active and staying healthy.
“Access to healthy foods and staying active are critical to helping kids reach their full potential. This year, we are working with Blessings in a Backpack and UnitedHealthcare to get bags of food into the hands of kids who need it the most and to keep them fed on the weekends, when they don’t have access to meals at school,” said Rodgers-Cromartie, who launched his Dreambuilders program after joining the New York Giants earlier this year. “I look forward to working with UnitedHealthcare to explore what more we can do together to help children grow up healthier.”
“Programs such as Dreambuilders help address a significant need in our communities – giving children access to healthy food,” said Michael McGuire, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New York and New Jersey. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with Dreambuilders and Blessings in a Backpack, and look forward to expanding this program to include nutrition education and physical activity to help children – and their families – develop a lifelong commitment to good health.”
In 2012, nearly 474,000 – or one in four – children in New York City lived in households that did not have an adequate food supply, a 31-percent increase from 2006-2008, according to a study by the New York City Coalition against Hunger.
“It is only through the generous support of organizations like Dreambuilders and UnitedHealthcare that we can provide backpacks of food to children so they can have food they need during those times when free or reduced-priced school lunches are not available,” said Brooke Wiseman, CEO, Blessings in a Backpack.
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, serves nearly 4 million residents across New York with a care provider network of more than 200 hospitals and 60,000 physicians and other health providers statewide.
“Hunger knows no age, no day, and no season, and that is why feeding our children and giving them a good start at life is so important. There is no denying that for some of New York's school children, their best meals are those they eat in school. I am proud to join with Blessings in a Backpack, UnitedHealthcare and New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's Dreambuilders in helping to fight hunger in our City,” said New York Senator Marty Golden. “I thank our sponsors on behalf of the 250 children who will now be served a well-balanced and nutritious meal on the weekends, including in my district at Public School 102.”
“Proper nutrition is essential not only in keeping children attentive in the classroom, but in getting them through the day. I'm so thankful to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and his Dreambuilders program, as well as UnitedHealthcare, for making today's event a reality,” said New York Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Assembly District 64.
Dreambuilders, Blessings in a Backpack and UnitedHealthcare are providing healthy meals to 250 children at PS 15 in Manhattan, and PS 502 and PS 102 in Brooklyn every weekend for a year. (PHOTO: Gerard Gaskin)
About the Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Dreambuilders Program
As a program under the umbrella of the Dreambuilders Foundation, New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie started his Dreambuilders program to provide essential nutrition to kids in need in New York. The program provides backpacks of healthy foods and snacks for in-need children to take home over the weekends, when they may not otherwise have access to nutritious meals. His program also will support St. Jude’s Research Hospital, and its efforts to find cures and save children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
About Blessings in a Backpack
Blessings in a Backpack, People Magazines Charity of 2012, is a results-oriented program that is designed to feed elementary school children whose families qualify for the federally funded National School Lunch Program and have little or no food on the weekends. Better test scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior, improved health and increased attendance have all been attributed to the success of this program. As little as $100 feeds one American school child in our program for an entire 38-week school year. Blessings in a Backpack is currently feeding over 63,000 children across 44 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. (see all at www.blessingsinabackpack.org).
We are Feeding the Future of America® – one school at a time.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves 45 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.