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Highmark Inc. Teams with Operation Warm to Provide New Winter Coats for Children in Need
Date:12/10/2008

Pennsylvania children receive jackets to help brave the winter cold

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- With this year's first snowfall already a distant memory, winter has arrived in Pennsylvania. As children head outside to wait at the bus stop, visit with family during the holidays or simply play with friends, it is important for them to bundle up and keep warm.

To help those who are less fortunate endure the cold winter weather ahead, Highmark Inc. recently awarded $19,000 in grants to Operation Warm to provide new winter jackets for underprivileged children across Pennsylvania.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 16% of children in Pennsylvania are considered to be poor, meaning their family income is below 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Sadly, many of these children do not have access to the appropriate clothing to stay warm.

"Highmark's partnership with Operation Warm allows us to help hundreds of children in the communities we serve stay warm during the winter," said Yvonne Cook, vice president of community and health initiatives. "We are proud to provide Operation Warm with the assistance to help them carry out their mission each year."

  • In Pittsburgh, some 300 children from the Clairton, Stowe Rox and Wilkinsburg school districts received coats through Operation Warm.

  • Just outside of Erie, some 500 children in the rural communities of Cameron, Elk, Forest, McKean and Potter Counties and 100 students in the Oil City school district in Venango County received new coats.

  • And in the Harrisburg region, 400 children in Berks, Dauphin and Franklin counties are wearing new coats thanks to Operation Warm and Highmark.

"For many children, a new winter coat is the first item of new clothing they have ever received," said Barbara Loeslein, Operation Warm director of development. "Support from corporate partners, like Highmark, enables us to reach more and more children every year and truly help make a difference in their lives."

Last year, Operation Warm provided new winter coats to some 126,000 children living in poverty across the United States. The organization anticipates reaching 140,000 children in 2008.

Highmark has been a proud supporter of Operation Warm since 2004 and has helped to provide new coats to approximately 3,000 children. To learn more about Highmark's corporate giving and commitment to the community, visit the "Community Involvement" section of www.highmark.com.

About Operation Warm

Operation Warm provides new winter coats to children in need through strategic partnerships with donors and community organizations. The organization's vision is that every child wearing a new winter coat will be healthy, able to attend school regularly and have strong self-esteem. They hope that each child reached believes, "I am of value." For more information about Operation Warm and to find out how you can help, visit www.operationwarm.org or call 1-800-730-WARM.

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.6 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.


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SOURCE Highmark Inc.
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