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Video: Addressing Mental Health and Community Wellness Through Urban Gardening

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and NASCAR Chicago Street Race are investing in Ada S. McKinley Community Services’ community garden program to help expand employment opportunities and mental health services for vulnerable individuals on the South Side.

Participants with intellectual and development disabilities will help maintain the garden and gain valuable physical and social skills while improving their mental health and well-being. The organization held a celebration event at the garden where volunteers helped spread soil and prepare nursery beds for the growing season.

Ada S. McKinley plans to partner with local organizations to distribute and sell the produce it grows and encourage healthy eating habits, says Eric Edquist, a senior vice president with the organization.

“We’re excited to give about half of our produce back to the community,” he says. “We’ll be donating to food banks and we’re also looking to partner with local restaurants to sell produce that will help with the workforce development piece of this project.”

BCBSIL is a founding partner of the NASCAR Chicago Street Race Weekend, taking place July 6-7. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association