Helping Tampa Bay Long After the Big Game

Posted on Feb 5th 2021 by Lissette Campos

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Long after the last fan has stepped foot in Raymond James Stadium Feb. 7 for the biggest game in football, the Tampa Bay area will reap the benefits of legacy projects involving Florida Blue and the bowl’s host committee in Tampa Bay. Florida Blue’s West Florida Market President, David Pizzo, saw firsthand how key initiatives were funded to combat childhood hunger and empower community organizations in early childhood education.  

Pizzo said Florida Blue got involved months ago in the game’s social initiative, Forever 55. The team has worked closely with an advisory committee to bring the programs to life. The company is funding the Forever 55 Super School Breakfast Initiative in 58 local schools and the First 1,000 Days project with Early Learning Coalitions in three counties.

Super School Breakfast Initiative

Call it food insecurity or childhood hunger, the fact is one in four children in the 10-county region doesn’t have access to three meals a day. The free breakfast or lunch at school is often their only reliable source of daily nutrition. The Super School breakfast carts will help these children in 58 schools across Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. These are free “grab-and-go” meals available to students anytime on campus, adding another 5 million school falsemeals for local students.

First 1,000 Days Program

The First 1,000 Days pilot program is working with Early Learning Coalitions in underserved communities across Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. Experts will partner with 20 families for the first three years of their child’s life to connect with pregnancy resources and other services. It also increases providers’ training in cultural competency, trauma-informed care and equity. The results could help countless families for decades to come.

Florida Blue’s involvement with Forever 55 doesn’t stop there. Over the next 18 months, the Tampa Bay host committee will organize Courageous Community Conversations on racial justice. Florida Blue will proudly be part of this initiative, too.

“We are determined to use the national spotlight that comes with hosting the biggest game in football to create life-changing opportunities for our communities,” said Pizzo. 

Filed under: Community  

Lissette Campos

Lissette serves Florida Blue’s West Florida region, spanning from the Tampa Bay Area to Sarasota and Ft. Myers. The 30+ year communications veteran is also an eight-time Emmy award winning writer.

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