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BCBSNM Community Outreach Specialist Tony Nichols (left) delivers items for the 1,000 Thanks project. 

Delivering 1,000 Thanks

As New Mexico’s schools, health agencies and community organizations worked tirelessly to continue serving their communities during the COVID-19 public health emergency, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico’s (BCBSNM) Community Outreach team wanted to find a way to say thank you.

“We thought about our community partners and the challenges they’ve had to overcome with COVID-19,” said Cyndi Baldonado, BCBSNM senior manager of community health initiatives. “We really appreciate what they’re doing right now, and it’s important that we show our support.”

In 2021, the BCBSNM Community Outreach team launched the 1,000 thanks project with the goal of delivering thanks to at least 1,000 individuals who play vital roles in the state’s communities — people such as teachers, health care providers and other community workers.

Over the course of more than 800 deliveries, BCBSNM provided handwritten thank-you notes, coloring books, laminated placemats, bags and additional items for schools, nonprofits and other groups in 133 different cities, towns and villages — reaching all 33 New Mexico counties.

Organizations that received deliveries include New Mexico Department of Health offices; Nizhoni Elementary School in Shiprock; La Casa Family Health Center in Roswell, Portales and Clovis; Artesia Public Schools; and Women, Infants, & Children Rio Arriba Health Commons in Española, among many others.

The project distributed more than:

  • 1,200 thank-you cards;
  • 100,000 coloring books; and
  • 52,000 placemats.

Teachers said they found the laminated placemats especially helpful since students returning to in-person learning had to eat in the classroom and not in the cafeteria as usual. The placemats, which include health and nutrition information in English and Spanish, could be used in the classroom during meals and then sanitized.

“One of the most incredible things about it is how thankful people have been,” said Tony Nichols, BCBSNM community outreach specialist. “It’s been such an honor to serve people again and help in any way that we can.”

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