SOURCE: Arbella Insurance Group

Arbella Insurance Group

August 30, 2011 09:00 ET

Arbella Donates $1M to Project Bread's Healthy School Food Initiative

Funds Will Help Improve Quality of School Meals for Low-Income Children Across Massachusetts

QUINCY, MA--(Marketwire - Aug 30, 2011) - The Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation announced today that it has pledged $1 million over four years to support Project Bread's "Healthy School Food for Kids Initiative." As the largest supporter of this statewide initiative, Arbella's multi-year donation will fund healthy menu development, culinary skills training in school cafeterias and effective "healthy food" presentation. The donation from Arbella represents the largest non-government gift that Project Bread has received.

The Initiative will be evaluated by the Harvard School of Public Health and the findings will serve as the basis for recommendations of how best to expand the program across the Commonwealth. This will become increasingly important as schools are required to implement new USDA nutrition standards in the fall of the 2012-2013 school year.

"Healthy school food -- breakfast and lunch -- that is tasty and appealing to kids, is an extraordinarily effective and efficient way to protect the Commonwealth's 330,000 low-income schoolchildren from hunger," said Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread. "I am so grateful to the Arbella Foundation for their far reaching vision and generosity on behalf of the most vulnerable schoolchildren in our state."

Healthy food is a boost to child health and wellbeing. The need for fresher, less processed food is urgent among low-income children. In Massachusetts, low-income children are two to three times more likely to be overweight than their middle-class peers. Obesity is a key marker for a series of earlier onset chronic illnesses including high blood pressure, cardiac disease and type-2 diabetes.

Project Bread's efforts will include the continuation of the Chefs in Schools program in East Boston, Lawrence and Salem, which incorporates new recipes, trains kitchen staff to prepare healthy foods and creates an environment that entices children to make healthier food choices. Other program efforts will include:

  • Smart Lunchroom setups, which place fruits and vegetables first in serving lines, and require students to walk past the salad bar to get to the cashier
  • Nutrition education for students and families, to reinforce messages about healthy food choices
  • "Train the Trainer" model to teach school food service staff healthy cooking techniques
  • Evaluation methods which use what kids actually consume, as opposed to what they take on their trays, as the standard for success

Like Distractology 101™, Arbella's groundbreaking distracted driving simulator tour, the partnership with Project Bread is another example of how Arbella supports causes that depend on community education in addition to legislation.

"When we learned about this program and how it will improve the quality of school meals for low-income children right here in our community, we knew we needed to help," said John Donohue, chairman, president and CEO of the Arbella Insurance Group and chairman and president of the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation. "What we like about this program is that it's not just about changing what's served in the school cafeteria; it's also about changing behaviors and helping students make smarter choices. Healthier kids mean healthier communities, and we all stand to benefit."

"At a time when economic instability has many companies reducing charitable giving, Arbella continues to give back," noted Parker. "Arbella has consistently been one of our top three corporate sponsors in The Walk for Hunger, and we're so pleased to have their support for this initiative as well. This is a flagship gift, an investment in system changes that will protect hundreds of thousands of school age children from hunger and boost their health. I believe that the Arbella gift will set a precedent for other business leaders to invest in long term, sustainable solutions to ending child hunger."

Arbella has long been committed to corporate citizenship as an integral part of its service to the community. The company is dedicated to supporting charitable organizations that work so hard to positively impact the lives of those around them. Last year, the company donated more than $1.6 million and 1,880 employee hours to not-for-profit organizations throughout New England.

About the Arbella Insurance Group and the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation
Established in 1988, the Arbella Insurance Group (www.arbella.com) is a company with more than $600M in revenue with approximately $1B in assets, headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. Arbella is a customer-focused regional property and casualty insurance company, providing personal and business insurance in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and business insurance in Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Arbella Insurance Group founded the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation in 2004. The mission of the Foundation is to engage in activities and to support not-for-profit organizations that have a significant positive impact on the people and communities served by Arbella.

About Project Bread
As the state's leading antihunger organization, Project Bread is dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts. Through The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country, Project Bread provides millions of dollars each year in privately donated funds to over 448 emergency food programs in 130 communities statewide. Project Bread also advocates systemic solutions that provide food for families in natural, everyday settings, such as schools, after-school programs, summer programs, community health centers, hospitals, and elder home care organizations. For more information, please visit www.projectbread.org.

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