Chicago Bear Kyle Long, UnitedHealthcare to Renovate Playground at St. Malachy School and Support “Blessings in a Backpack” Program

May 06, 2015
  • Playground renovation and weekend healthy-food program for students made possible by a donation from UnitedHealthcare

Chicago Bears Pro Bowl offensive lineman Kyle Long and UnitedHealthcare are partnering to support students from low-income families at St. Malachy School, located on Chicago’s near west side. 

UnitedHealthcare donated $22,000 to the Dreambuilders Foundation to help renovate Starr Park, which serves as St. Malachy School’s playground. The donation is also supporting the school’s Blessings in a Backpack program, which provides bags of nutritious food to 125 students every Friday afternoon over the next three school years, ensuring that these children have healthy food during the weekends.

The improvements to the 1.25-acre park will include new playground equipment, walking paths, site lighting, landscape improvements and a water-spray feature.

“Keeping kids healthy in Chicago is of vital importance, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this effort than UnitedHealthcare,” said Long. “The renovation at Starr Park will give the students at St. Malachy a fun, new place to play and stay active, and the food we give the kids each Friday through Blessings in a Backpack will make sure they get the nutrition they need when they are not in school.”

“UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Kyle Long and Dreambuilders to increase awareness about childhood health, and promote healthy lifestyles and good eating habits in underserved Chicago neighborhoods,” said Colleen Van Ham, president and CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Illinois.

Renovation for the new park will begin this summer, while funding for the Blessings in a Backpack program began in January. Combined with support from parishioners of Holy Name Cathedral, all 255 students at St. Malachy School are now being given healthy and nutritious food on weekends through the Blessings program.

"We are truly grateful for our partnership with Dreambuilders and the generous support of Chicago Bears' Kyle Long and UnitedHealthcare, helping us feed hungry students over the weekend through our program,” said Brooke Wisemen, CEO, Blessings in a Backpack. “Every child deserves the nourishment needed to learn and grow – because of their generosity, St. Malachy students will come back to school on Mondays better nourished and more ready to learn.”

This project is the latest in UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well.” employee volunteer initiative, whose mission is to prevent hunger and obesity, inspire service and encourage volunteerism. For more information about the benefits of volunteering and to find local opportunities to get involved, visit Follow @DoGoodLiveWell on Twitter or “like” Do Good. Live Well. on Facebook.

About Blessings in a Backpack
Hunger has both short- and long-term negative effects on children’s health and ability to succeed in school. Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry. Blessings in a Backpack currently feeds more than 76,000 children in 44 states and the District of Columbia. For more information visit

About Dreambuilders
The Dreambuilders Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with pro athletes across the country to help financially, physically and mentally-challenged kids receive the items, opportunities and equipment they need to reach their dreams.

About UnitedHealthcare
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 850,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare 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 or follow @myUHC on Twitter.

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