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Press Release

Santa Visits Philadelphia's Isaac A. Sheppard School

Independence Blue Cross "elves" donate gifts, coats to students

Philadelphia, PA - December 21, 2011 - Santa Claus came to town early for the students at the Isaac A. Sheppard School in North Philadelphia, courtesy of the elves at Independence Blue Cross (IBC). Santa made the pre-Christmas stop on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, during the school's annual "Santa Day."

All 289 students, from kindergarten through fourth grade, received an early holiday gift - wrapped and individually labeled with his or her name - from Santa Claus himself. The Sheppard School also received a gift on Santa Day. Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO, presented 10 walkie-talkies to the school's principal, James P. Otto, to be used by the teachers and Otto for safety and communication.

Santa Day, an annual holiday tradition for the school, includes a concert performed by the IBC chorus, the Sounds of Independence.

Each year, hundreds of IBC associates donate new holiday gifts for the Sheppard School students. Every gift is individually selected for a specific child. To surprise the students with Santa's arrival, a collection of undercover "elves" wrap, pack, and secretly ship the gifts to the school before the annual Santa Day event. In addition to the nearly 300 gifts for each of the Sheppard School students, IBC collected hundreds of new winter coats for the school to give to its students in need.

IBC has been a corporate sponsor of the Sheppard School, a 98 percent poverty-level school, for about 20 years. IBC has been offering academic and social support through programs such as the Philadelphia Reads Power Partners program and various beautification projects.

To further help needy children in our region, IBC will provide 1,000 toys and offer a toy-for-toy match to the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program, which is facing a significant donation crisis this year. For every new, unwrapped gift donated to the drop-off center in the courtyard outside IBC's Center City offices, IBC will match that gift for Toys for Tots with up to 2,500 gifts. This effort could ultimately result in 6,000 toys being donated this holiday season.

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit us at ibx.com. Fan us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter@ibx.

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