Blue Cross, Healthy Blue and Vantage Health Plan Volunteers Gave Out More Than 1,000 New Coats at North Louisiana Schools
Operation Warm events support children from low-income families

Nov. 23, 2022

SHREVEPORT, La – Winter will be warmer for many children in North Louisiana, thanks to Operation Warm events at area schools during September. Volunteers from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Vantage Health Plan and Healthy Blue gave new coats to more than 1,000 children.
“For low-income families in our community, buying new clothing for colder weather can be a hardship. That’s why Blue Cross joined Vantage and Healthy Blue to make sure North Louisiana children have coats for the coming winter months,” said Brad Bockhaus, Blue Cross Shreveport and Monroe regional sales director. “We have proudly sponsored Operation Warm events at area schools for the past several years. Community service and supporting families’ needs is an important way we fulfill our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians.” 

“Our volunteers look forward to working with Operation Warm every year. We love seeing the joy and excitement on the children’s faces as they get to pick out brand-new coats,” said Michael Tipton, Blue Cross Foundation president and head of Community Relations. “With all the stresses families have been through during the past two years with COVID-19, hurricanes and economic challenges, we are glad that we can take away concerns about paying for properly-fitting coats as we head into winter.” 

“Operation Warm is an event that Vantage is honored to be a part of each year,” said Jessica Self, Vantage Health Plan vice president, Monroe Operations. “This event brings our employees together and allows them to give back in the community where it is most needed.”

“Being healthy involves more than just doctor’s visits and medication,” said Dr. Christy Valentine Theard, president of Healthy Blue Louisiana. “Healthy Blue understands that if we are going to be successful in improving overall health outcomes, we have to ensure that basic life needs are being met, and we have to address the stress and anxiety that can be caused by financial burdens and societal pressures. Supporting Operation Warm is just one example of how Healthy Blue is stepping up to help communities overcome disparities and live better, healthier lives.”

“We are so grateful for the volunteers from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Vantage Health Plan and Healthy Blue,” said Operation Warm Executive Director Grace Sica. “Their work has made a tremendous impact in the lives of Louisiana children and their families.” 

Operation Warm events took place at Berg Jones Elementary School in Monroe, Werner Park Academy in Shreveport and Central Park Elementary School in Bossier City. Watch the coat giveaway days in this video (1:00).

“It is often stated ‘It takes a village.’ The Berg Jones family (faculty, staff, students and parents) would like to say thanks for being a part of our village,” said Principal Lashondra Allen, Berg Jones Elementary School. “We are grateful for your generosity in providing ALL of our students with coats for this upcoming school year. Your thoughtfulness brought smiles to our students’ faces and a blessing for our parents. We are very appreciative of your thoughtfulness. Thanks for making a difference in our students’ lives.”

“Werner Park Academy truly appreciates your contribution of providing over 300 brand new coats for our students,” said Principal Raquel Fuggins, MS, Werner Park Academy. “Through your partnership, we were able put smiles on students’ faces and give warmth for the winter months. The smiles on the students’ faces were priceless. They were so eager to wear their new coats. They even were able to pick their own color, which made it extra special. I want to say thank you, our students are forever grateful to you.”  

“The coat-giving event was a tremendous blessing for our school community. The smiles on students' faces after receiving the coats were priceless!” said Principal Vicki Younger, Central Park Elementary School. “Thank you for your generosity and for the time the volunteers spent with our children.”  

Media can contact to request B-roll video and photos from the Operation Warm events.  

Follow Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA to see more images from Operation Warm and other community service activities. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok. Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos on health and wellness topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added.

About Operation Warm:

Operation Warm is a national nonprofit that manufactures brand-new, high-quality coats for children in need. We partner with compassionate individuals, community organizations, and corporations across North America to provide emotional warmth, confidence to socialize and succeed, and hope of a brighter future through the gift of a brand-new coat.  Over the last 20 years, Operation Warm and our partners have used the coat as a bridge for families in need to access everything from flu shots to new books. 

To make a lasting impact on the lives of children, visit   

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.  

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.

About Vantage Health Plan

Vantage Health Plan is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) formed over 25 years ago by physicians who wanted to improve healthcare and help lower healthcare costs. Vantage prides itself in offering friendly, excellent customer service and high-quality healthcare products. Coverage is available to members who live or work in any of the 64 Louisiana parishes and select counties in Arkansas and Mississippi. For more information, please visit or

About Healthy Blue

Healthy Blue is a managed healthcare provider that has been serving the state since 2012, and currently serves the state’s Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion and LaCHIP programs. Healthy Blue, a joint venture between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Anthem Partnership Holding Company, LLC (parent company, Anthem, Inc.), recognizes the challenges low-income and underserved individuals face, and tailors its programs such that health plan members are assured care that is not only accessible, but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered. Healthy Blue provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage members to become active participants in their healthcare. Also, through health education programs, members are empowered to choose and sustain healthy lifestyles. To learn more about Healthy Blue, visit and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyBlueLA and LinkedIn @healthy-blue-louisiana.