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BLUES EMPLOYEES PLEDGE MORE THAN 700 FOOD BASKETS

 BLUES EMPLOYEES PLEDGE MORE THAN 700 FOOD BASKETS
 DETROIT, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders of a Blue Cross and Blue


Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) employee group have pledged to provide 60,000 pounds of food in more than 700 baskets to hungry families during the December holiday season.
 It's a 40-percent increase over previous contributions, and a recognition of this year's greater needs.
 "I'm proud of our employees' efforts to step up their historic concern for less fortunate neighbors in these difficult times," said Richard E. Whitmer, BCBSM president and chief executive officer.
 "The employee group that organizes the holiday food basket drive is our Five Year Club, one of the oldest employee groups in our company," said Whitmer.
 "They've been distributing baskets for the past 32 years," Whitmer noted. "Last year they distributed more than 500 baskets. Increasing that to 700 baskets this year represents a real challenge for the club and all our employees, a challenge I know they will meet."
 The Five Year Club plans the holiday basket food drive months ahead of the holiday, according to club president Nick Grabowski, a BCBSM customer relations marketing representative. Arrangements include soliciting employees in all the BCBSM locations to bring in food, as well as to donate money to buy turkeys, chickens, fresh fruit and other perishables.
 "We also solicit the help of the hundreds of employees needed to gather the donated food, pack the baskets and deliver them to the homes of needy families in 22 southeast Michigan communities," Grabowski said. "The overwhelming response from our employees who want to help in this program is heartwarming."
 The average basket that BCBSM employees will deliver before Dec. 25 will feed a family of five for five days.
 "So the 700 baskets that the BCBSM Five Year Club has pledged could make a happier holiday for as many as 3,500 people," Grabowski said.
 The BCBSM baskets go to families identified by employees, city of Detroit agencies and others.
 "We recognize that individuals -- including senior citizens -- can be as much in need as a family, so smaller baskets are assembled and delivered to them," Grabowski added.
 "And because we know about the families who will get the baskets, we have packed baskets that will provide several days of good, nourishing food for larger families, including some with as many as 19 members," Grabowski said.
 -0- 11/27/91
 /CONTACT: Ruth Cain of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, 313-225-8120/ CO: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan ST: Michigan IN: SU:


SM-JG -- DE008 -- 7683 11/27/91 10:37 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 27, 1991
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