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Premera Social Impact: Giving Back for the holidays

January 4, 2024

For many people, the holiday season is an opportunity to celebrate or to simply relax and recharge. For many families experiencing homelessness, however, it can be a profoundly difficult time. Improving health equity and homelessness is part of Premera’s mission to make healthcare work better, and throughout the recent holiday season, Premera employees brought that mission to life by giving back to their communities.

Mary’s Place: Seattle, WA

With this mission in mind, a group of Premera’s Technology and Operations employees chose to volunteer at Mary’s Place in November.

The Seattle based non-profit is a Premera Social Impact partner. It strives to keep families together, inside, and safe when they have nowhere else to go. Mary’s Place also provides resources, housing, and employment services to help lift families out of homelessness.

Director of Program Management Kara Thorson is familiar with Mary’s Place. She and her son donate to the organization. With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, Kara reflected on her own childhood. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like to face homelessness as a parent during the holidays.

“I never had to manage homelessness as a child, but my family did rely on charity services for food, clothing, and toys around the holidays,” Kara said. “Now that I’m in a more fortunate position, it’s important to give back and teach my son the importance of helping others.”

Jason Miller, Regina Kelley, and Theresa Fannin joined Kara for the November outing. The four colleagues focused their attention on landscaping cleanup at Mary’s Place Northshore location. It’s one of five emergency shelters run by the organization. It depends on volunteers to stretch the budget.

“I was interested to learn this location doesn’t get as much volunteer activity as other locations. It felt good to support them and we accomplished so much in two and half hours,” said Director of Operations Regina Kelley.

The staff at Mary’s Place Northshore was so impressed with the team’s quick and comprehensive cleanup that they told Kara “You’re welcome back anytime.”

Housing Hope: Snohomish County, WA

Santa’s workshop had nothing on Premera’s Mountlake Terrace office on December 7 as our team assembled dozens of Shoeboxes of Cheer to be shared with children throughout Snohomish County during the holidays.

Colleagues from all corners of Premera came together to support the Shoebox Santa program from Housing Hope, an organization that changes lives by providing safe, affordable housing to families and individuals in need all year long.

YWCA Spokane

In Spokane, employees assembled 32 Kits of Cheer for YWCA Spokane. The kits were based on different themes, including birthdays, winter, warming, and family fun. YWCA Spokane is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, standing up for social justice, helping families, and strengthening communities.

To learn more about the Premera’s Social Impact initiatives, visit our HealthSource Blog.