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Blue Ribbon Foundation Funding Helps Elks Home Services Expand Safety Net

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February 4, 2011

Nearly 300 NEPA residents with disabilities received support


February 4, 2011, Wilkes-Barre, PA – Not so long ago, Tracy Schwab took her first shower in five years. Due to her multiple sclerosis, the 44-year-old Dickson City resident was only been able to take baths until the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program helped her purchase a $1,500 shower chair.

Schwab is just one of nearly 300 local residents assisted in the past year by Pennsylvania Elks Major Projects, Inc., after the independent nonprofit agency’s Home Service Program received a $10,000 grant from The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Elks Major Projects, Inc. was established in 1963 by the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks to promote the independence of individuals living with disabilities. The organization used The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s grant to provide in-home visitation and medical care coordination to 284 people in 13 northeastern and north central Pennsylvania counties during 2010.

Last year, Elks Home Service nurses drove nearly 30,200 miles and made more than 1,000 visits to clients in Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties. The nurses provided health, safety and medication education, helped secure medical equipment, found patients transportation to medical appointments and matched participants with government programs.

Across NEPA, the need for such services often outpaces demand. With each of the agency’s 23 nurses averaging 150 to 200 clients, the Elks are thankful that outside funding and vital grants from organizations such as The Blue Ribbon Foundation augmented the group’s 2010 budget.

"The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s grant extended our Home Service Program’s reach to hundreds of residents who turned to us when they didn’t know where else to go," said Marjorie Wood, Special Projects Director for Pennsylvania Elks Major Projects.

In Dickson City, Schwab said she’s thankful The Foundation’s grant aided her case. The Elks secured the funding for her shower chair from the Northeast Pennsylvania Center for Independent Living. When Schwab finally took her first shower in years, she said "I felt normal again."

"Our grants help nonprofits meet the health and wellness needs of our area’s most vulnerable residents," said Cynthia A. Yevich, The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s Executive Director. "The Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program is highly effective at doing exactly that."

For more information about The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, please visit and click on The Blue Ribbon Foundation tab.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 550,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide innovative wellness solutions that increase access to high-quality, affordable health care and promote personal accountability.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.

Media Contact:
Anthony Matrisciano