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Cigna grants $100K to Filling in the Blanks

Filling in the Blanks

Shawnee Knight



July 14, 2020

Filling in the Blanks Receives $100,000 Grant from Cigna Foundation

Norwalk, CT (May 21, 2020) - Filling in the Blanks recently received a $100,000 grant from Cigna Foundation through its Healthier Kids For Our FutureSM initiative to support its Weekend Meal Program.

Filling in the Blanks works to fight childhood hunger in our local communities by providing children in need with meals on the weekends. This $100,000 award from the Cigna Foundation will fund ongoing program implementation and provide meals and regular access to food for children in Fairfield and Westchester Counties.

“We are extremely grateful to the Cigna Foundation for their commitment to creating healthy lifestyles. With this very generous grant, Filling in the Blanks will be able to expand our reach to food insecure children, “said Tina Kramer, Co-Founder and Co-President. The organization’s other Co-Founder and Co-President, Shawnee Knight shared, “Food is something no child should go without. We are committed to our mission of fighting

childhood hunger because the children we serve are the next generation of teachers, leaders, healthcare workers, scientists, and parents. The Cigna Foundation grant will allow us to expand our reach and continue serving the children in our program.”

In Fairfield County, 29,400 children do not know where their next meal will come from. Most eat breakfast and lunch at school on weekdays, but many will go from Friday lunch until Monday morning without a decent meal. The purpose of Filling in the Blanks is to remove the obstacle of food insecurity for local children by providing each student with a bag of food to take home every Friday, through the Weekend Meal Program.

“Cigna Foundation is committed to decreasing food insecurity in children throughout the country,” said Ken Seda, assistant director, Cigna Foundation. “Our Healthier Kids For The Future program allows us to work directly with nonprofits, like Filling in the Blanks, that are making meaningful impacts in their communities. Their Weekend Meal Program provides children with nutrition, but also gives them the sense of stability and security they need to thrive.”

Two of the largest barriers to food security for families and children in our local community are financial restrictions and difficulty accessing food sources. To get over those hurdles, Filling in the Blanks purchases balanced food for 3,500 children and delivers it directly to the children through their schools, after school programs or camps. Each weekend meal bag contains: two milks, two breakfast items, two entrees, a vegetable, and four snacks, and a piece of fresh fruit. Filling in the Blanks believes that all children deserve the chance to

be healthy and strong and that no child should be limited by hunger.

Since 2013, Filling in the Blanks has delivered 224,924 weekend meal bags. Data collected by Filling in the Blanks shows the weekend meal bags have decreased stress in the children’s homes, behavior has improved, hunger symptom complaints have decreased, and children are no longer coming to school starving on Monday.

About Filling in the Blanks: Filling in the Blanks works tirelessly to remove the obstacle of food insecurity for children in our local community and ease the burden on their parents or caregivers. As a result, the students receiving the weekend meal bags have improved peace of mind, ability to focus on tasks, and the ability to learn.

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