NASHVILLE, TN — Delta Dental of Tennessee (Delta Dental) recently announced a $50,000 commitment to support COVID-19 relief efforts across Tennessee through The Salvation Army Nashville Area Command and Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. The nonprofits will receive $25,000 each to distribute across the state based on need.
“Thousands of Tennesseans are relying on Second Harvest and The Salvation Army for food, shelter and other critical services during this difficult time, and we are proud to lend our support to their on-the-ground work across the state,” said Dr. Phil Wenk, CEO and president of Delta Dental of Tennessee. “As the need for resources and support in our communities continues to grow and evolve, we know that through these two important and inspiring organizations, we are making the greatest possible impact.”
Since 2014, Delta Dental has supported The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree initiative around the holiday season, creating “Miracle Moments” for nearly 13,700 Tennesseans each year. The Salvation Army plans to use the funding to support its services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, which has seen an increased demand during the pandemic as churches and other organizations have had to suspend or limit services at their facilities.
“We are grateful to Dr. Wenk and our partners at Delta Dental of Tennessee for joining us in our fight for good and supporting the efforts of The Salvation Army across the state of Tennessee,” said Major Ethan Frizzell, Area Commander for The Salvation Army in Nashville. “Their support will allow for more people to experience hot meals, safety in our shelters, and the spread of love and hope that our officers and staff are offering to any and all who need it during this unprecedented time. It is partnerships such as this that allow us in The Salvation Army to continue the vital work of sustaining and stabilizing our neighbors in this, our Tennessee Home.”
Delta Dental has supported Second Harvest since 2013, including the annual Hunger Action Month campaign in September, and supplies children’s toothbrushes to its BackPack programs that provide easy-to-prepare food for children in food-insecure homes on weekends. According to new research conducted by a team from the University of Arkansas about the impact of COVID-19 on hunger, 38% of Americans reported moderate to high levels of food insecurity during the last week of March, and Tennessee was one of the highest need states in the country, with 45% of residents struggling with hunger in the early weeks of the pandemic.
“During these uncertain times, we are grateful to Delta Dental of Tennessee for their continued support,” said Nancy Keil president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. “The need for our services has grown nearly 50% in the past few weeks and we don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. We need partners like Delta Dental to help us continue to provide food to children, families and seniors struggling with hunger.”
Delta Dental is continuously monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and considering additional opportunities to support the safety and well-being of its employees, clients, families, and communities. For the latest on Delta Dental’s COVID-19 response, please visit DeltaDentalTN.com.
Delta Dental of Tennessee is the state’s largest independent dental benefits carrier with more than 1.2 million lives covered. As part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, Delta Dental of Tennessee members have access to the largest dental network in the nation with more than 154,000 providers serving more than 332,000 locations. With the simple mission of ensuring healthy smiles, Delta Dental of Tennessee works hard to help members of the communities it serves. Along with its corporate foundation, Smile180, Delta Dental of Tennessee donated more than $7 million in funding and in-kind services to over 140 organizations in 2019, and employees shared 2,182 volunteer hours in the community.