Friday, November 18, 2016

Giving back this Thanksgiving season

As we approach the season of giving and gratitude, I’m proud to say that at UnitedHealthcare of New Jersey, we got an early start. Last month our employees joined The Diocese of New Jersey in their fifth annual “Soles for the Harvest” 5K and 1 mile fun run. The course started at the Cream Ridge Winery, and wound past horse farms and through historic Walnford Park in scenic Cream Ridge, N.J. UnitedHealthcare employees and community members from across the New Jersey Diocese raised funds for people who are facing food insecurity. They also collected and donated canned goods for the Allentown Food Pantry.

The Janney family (Dominic, Elizabeth, Isabelle, Liliene and Colette) at the Soles for Harvest event

Earlier this week,  Saint Peter’s Adult Day Center participants in Monroe Township and Saint Peter’s Foundation staff joined UnitedHealthcare employees in assembling the “Grins to Go” bags, which are boredom-busting bags of toys and activities to lift the spirits of any child, whether in a hospital, a waiting room or doctor’s office. The bags, filled with toys and activities, were created by the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation to bring smiles to sick children and their families.

Once assembled, I joined UnitedHealthcare employees to deliver Grins to Go™ bags to children at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the day just a bit brighter for hospitalized children and I was grateful for the opportunity to deliver Grins to Go bags to many of the children being treated.

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) provides medical grants that help children gain access to health-related services not covered, or not fully covered, by their parents’ commercial health insurance plan. Families do not have to have insurance from UnitedHealthcare in order to apply.  Since 2007, UHCCF awarded more than 12,000 grants to children across the United States to improve their clinical condition and quality of life.  Of these grants, 250 went to children in New Jersey.  Parents across the country can apply for grants online at

The public can get involved as well by purchasing and donating individual Grins to Go bags at, selecting the “Grins2” link and choosing or nominating a hospital to receive the bags. Bags can also be purchased on