With the completion of its 2020 Miracle Balloon Campaign, Rite Aid and its customers have officially surpassed $100 million donated to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals over the more than 25 years that the campaign has existed.
This year’s campaign on its own raised $1.9 million from Rite Aid customers in 18 states. The Rite Aid Foundation is chipping in an additional $2.5 million in grant funding to support the 53 CMN hospitals within Rite Aid’s footprint. The foundation’s funding follows its efforts earlier this year to support children’s hospitals at the outset of the pandemic with a $250,000 grant. This year’s collective giving brings Rite Aid’s 25-year total support for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to more than $102 million
The company noted that its partnership with children’s hospitals offer a way for its customers to support the health and well-being of children combating both serious medical conditions and socioeconomic and racial inequities that can be a barrier to securing necessary care. All donations from customers stay local to the children’s hospital in their community and region, Rite Aid said.
“This milestone is the culmination of millions and millions of small acts of kindness, compassion and care for each other. Raised dollar by dollar over more than 25 years, these funds have literally saved lives and changed children’s futures,” said Jessica Kazmaier, president of the Rite Aid Foundation and Rite Aid executive vice president and chief human resources officer. “We are grateful for the care that children’s hospitals provide to our neighborhoods and thank our loyal customers for everyday generosity that has accumulated into immeasurable, life-changing impact.”
Among the things that Rite Aid’s donations have supported is an expansion of Fresno, Calif.-based Valley Children’s Hospital that can support all pediatric patients, regardless of their ability to pay. In Philadelphia, Rite Aid Foundation grants have funded the Healthier Together initiative to built health behaviors and address social determinants of health. Funds also have helped expand Johns Hopkins Children’s Center’s neonatal intensive care unit to nearly 50 beds and care expansions at Penn State Children’s Hospital and the pediatric level 1 trauma center at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, among others.
Also in Baltimore, Rite Aid’s support has boosted Johns Hopkins Children’s Center’s efforts to deliver services like its Hopkins Community Connection program, which served roughly 400 families at a time, providing food and necessities. Rite Aid’s help has managed to assist in the program’s expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic to service 850 families.
“Our program offers a connection to those resources that families often don’t know they’re eligible for or may not know how to access,” said Dr. Barry Solomon, chief of the division of general pediatrics at Johns Hopkins. “We really serve the whole health picture, not just of the patient, but of the family. Families could have questions about their insurance, where to get food or how to get the lights back on. And, no matter who they ask, they’ll be connected to a resource to solve the problem.”