Blessings in a Backpack, Cigna Foundation and Cigna Provide Weekend Meals to Mission Ridge Elementary School Students

  • Goal is to reduce hunger among school-age children
  • Program will feed 200 grade-school students throughout the school year
  • 830 students get food-filled backpacks at kickoff event tomorrow
  • Attending Kickoff: SISD officials and trustees, Cigna market
    president, Mission Ridge students

EL PASO, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two-hundred students at Mission Ridge Elementary will receive backpacks
filled with healthy food each weekend throughout the school year, made
possible through a Cigna Foundation grant to Blessings
in a Backpack
. The national child hunger relief non-profit
organization’s three-year program will kick off tomorrow afternoon at an
event sponsored by Cigna (NYSE: CI). All 830 Mission Ridge Elementary
students will receive backpacks during the special event.

The program will open with remarks encouraging students to adopt healthy
habits and to stay in school. Guests will be entertained by the Mission
Ridge Elementary folklorico student performance group. Representatives
from Mission Ridge, Socorro Independent School District (SISD), Cigna
and Blessings in a Backpack will attend.

“Our backpacks give children the food they need during those times when
free or reduced-priced school lunches are not available, such as on
weekends,” said Brooke Wiseman, chief executive officer for Blessings in
a Backpack. “Partnering with the Cigna Foundation and Cigna brings
national attention to the Blessings mission of feeding hungry children.
Together, we can fight to end childhood hunger.”

“The Cigna Foundation is committed to building a healthier and more
secure future for every child,” said David Figliuzzi, executive director
of the Cigna Foundation. “When kids come to school hungry, it has a
significant impact on their physical, mental and academic well-being. By
working together with Blessings to reduce hunger, we can help students
come to school each day healthy, engaged and ready to learn.”

“More than 25 percent of El Paso County children go to bed hungry1,
which is five points higher than the national average. That’s
unacceptable,” said LaMonte Thomas, president for Cigna’s North Texas
market. “Cigna’s work with Blessings in a Backpack is an important part
of our commitment to building healthy communities in Texas.”

Blessings in a Backpack is a results-oriented program designed to feed
elementary school children whose families qualify for the federally
funded National School Lunch Program and have little or no access to
healthy food on the weekends. The program is supported nationally and
locally by the Cigna Foundation and Cigna. Child wellness is a key focus
of Cigna’s corporate responsibility platform, Cigna Connects.

Funding for the food-filled backpacks was provided by the Cigna
Foundation. The Cigna Foundation and Cigna have contributed $450,000 to
Blessings in a Backpack, including a $100,000 World
of Difference grant
to expand the program in schools nationwide.

About Blessings in a Backpack

Blessings in a Backpack, People Magazines Charity of 2012, is a
results-oriented program that is designed to feed elementary school
children whose families qualify for the federally funded National School
Lunch Program and have little or no food on the weekends. Better test
scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior, improved health and
increased attendance have all been attributed to the success of this
program. As little as $100 feeds one American school child in our
program for an entire 38-week school year. Blessings in a Backpack is
currently feeding over 88,000 children in 48 states, the District of
Columbia and 900 schools. Please visit www.blessingsinabackpack.org.
We are Feeding the Future of America® – one school at a time.

About the Cigna Foundation

The Cigna Foundation is a private foundation funded by contributions
from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna
Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing
the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their
communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna
employees live and work.

About Cigna

Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company
dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense
of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or
through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including
Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life
Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna
Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include
an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental,
behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other
related products including group life, accident and disability
insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and
jurisdictions, and has more than 90 million customer relationships
throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to
follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

1 FeedingAmerica.org: http://map.feedingamerica.org/county/2014/child/texas/county/el-paso

Contacts

Cigna
Mark Slitt, 860-226-2092
Mark.Slitt@cigna.com
or
Blessings
in a Backpack
Erin Kerr, 773-415-3053
erinkerr@blessingsinabackpack.org