The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation gives the Angel Award annually to those who donate their time and talents to better the lives of Louisiana children, whether through enrichment projects in the areas of arts and education or programs addressing the direst needs of an underserved population.
The current winners bring to 160 the number of volunteers honored by the program, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year; each will receive a $20,000 grant for the charity of his or her choice.
Sixty-eight nominees from across the state were considered for the award by a committee of past Angel Award winners. They will be recognized at a presentation ceremony by invitation only on Oct. 20 at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel.
Two people from Northwest Louisiana received the Angel Award this year:
- Brian Hunter of Shreveport. Hunter is the driving force behind Common Ground, a community center serving one of the poorest neighborhoods in Shreveport. As volunteer executive director, Hunter oversees a corps of volunteers from the surrounding Shreveport-Bossier-Benton area that provides meals and groceries, afterschool and weekend programs and mentoring and tutoring to hundreds of at-risk children and their families.
- Isaac McFarland of Keithville. A high school junior, McFarland founded Game Changers, an organization devoted to educating schoolchildren on hunger in local communities and the world. The group has provided hundreds of "tackle boxes" of food to children in underserved communities. He also tutors students at a neighborhood recreation center and assists with community vegetable gardening.
Ashley Belding of New Orleans, Laura Domingue of Baton Rouge, Jennifer Maggio of Baton Rouge, Hank and Debbie Perret of Lafayette, Jackie Silverman of River Ridge and Nancy Zito of Baton Rouge also received the Angel Award this year.
Over two decades, the Angel Award has given more than $1.8 million to charities whose purpose is to improve the welfare of the state's children.
Blue Cross Foundation Executive Dir. Christy Reeves said, "Thousands of children have been directly impacted by the work of the winners' chosen charities. This in turn fulfills our mission to improve the lives of Louisianians/"
For more information about the Angel Award program, visit the Blue Cross website at www.bcbsla.com/angelaward.
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