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Blue Cross of NEPA Caring Corps Celebrates 5th Anniversary During Volunteer Week April 18-24

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April 14, 2010

1,000 employees donate 19,000 hours valued at more than $350,000 

April 14, Wilkes-Barre, PA — It’s a simple thing — just a bit of tidying up as the long winter finally gives way to spring.  But for a nonprofit on a tight budget, it’s a gift of time they didn’t have and money they won’t have to spend thanks to the Caring Corps, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s employee volunteer program.

“With our limited resources and staff, the Caring Corps really helps with projects like our spring clean up that would fall to the bottom of the list or just not get done,” said Marijo Penkala, family and fitness director for the Greater Hazleton Area YMCA/YWCA. 

The YMCA clean-up is just one of 183 projects completed by the all-volunteer Caring Corps since its inception in 2005.  Since then, nearly 5,000 Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania employees have provided more than 19,000 hours of volunteer service with an estimated value of $350,234 to area nonprofit organizations.

The Caring Corps is just one example of BCNEPA’s long-standing commitment to the communities of Northeast Pennsylvania. Throughout the company’s 71-year history, employees have provided support to nonprofit organizations through financial contributions and participation in a whole host of events.

BCNEPA has always encouraged volunteer service by employees with a company policy of allowing individual employees to take paid time off to assist nonprofit agencies.  Five years ago, BCNEPA took the next step to engage employees in its community commitment by actively promoting volunteer opportunities for groups of employees.

“The Caring Corps benefits everyone involved,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, BCNEPA’s Senior Director of Community and Foundation Affairs.  “It reinforces our corporate commitment to the community.  It gives our employees the opportunity to develop leadership and team-building skills.  It increases employee morale through the personal satisfaction that can only come from knowing you’re making a difference.  And it provides hundreds of hours of volunteer service to help nonprofits address the unmet and pressing needs of their clients.”

In the past five years, Caring Corps volunteers have provided assistance at shelters, soup kitchens, agencies that support children, food and clothing banks and other nonprofit organizations across BCNEPA’s 13-county service area. 

“We’ve been lucky enough to count on the Caring Corps to help with our Kids’ Café and our community garden,” said Maura Modrovsky, volunteer coordinator for the Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO).  “The Caring Corp volunteers always go above and beyond on every task we ask of them. They are so instrumental in the work that we do.”

Monsignor Joseph P. Kelly, Director of the St. Francis Assisi Kitchen in Scranton, said without committed volunteers like those in the Caring Corps, the soup kitchen simply could not go on. 

“It’s very important that an organization like Blue Cross sees the need of the community and is moved to help,” said Kelly.  “I can’t thank the Caring Corps enough for their support and I hope they feel as good about being here as our clients do about having them here.”

The Caring Corps will celebrate its 5th anniversary by participating in National Volunteer Week April 18-24, which was established by a U.S. presidential order in 1974. BCNEPA’s volunteers will give their time throughout the region at St. Vincent de Paul Kitchen, CEO, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross in Wilkes-Barre, St. Francis Assisi Kitchen in Scranton, St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen in Williamsport, The Salvation Army in East Stroudsburg and the Greater Hazleton Area YMCA/YWCA. 

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association headquartered in Wilkes-Barre.  It offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to approximately 600,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  The company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions that support more affordable health care, promote personal accountability for health and wellness, and offer superior service and partnership to employers, members, and providers.