HARLINGEN & BROWNSVILLE – Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen is once again leading a community effort to provide area children and adults struggling from hunger with a healthy breakfast this summer through its Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive, benefitting the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley. The drive kicks off Monday, June 7 and runs through Monday, June 14. 

“So many families in our community are impacted by hunger and must rely on the generosity of others, and that remains true even as we continue to manage the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Leslie Bingham, CEO for Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville.  “That is why efforts like Valley Baptist’s Healthy over Hungry Cereal drive serve such a vital role for the communities we care for – they make a positive and tangible impact in the lives of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones in need.”

Nearly 1 in 2 children in the Rio Grande Valley live at or below the federal poverty level. It is far too common for families to pay all their bills only to find very little left for nutritious foods. Summer can be especially difficult for families when children are out of school. While local school districts have worked hard during the pandemic to offer healthy meals to children away from the classroom, there is still significant need for donations.

“At Valley Baptist we understand all too well the health issues children face from hunger and poor nutrition,” said Manny Vela, CEO for Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen and Valley Baptist Health System. “We recognize the importance of beginning each day with a nutritious breakfast and through this drive we hope to help the many residents in our community struggling with food insecurity.”

Valley Baptist Health System will once again partner with the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, which will serve as the recipient and distributor of the donations. Whole-grain cereal, when part of a healthy, balanced breakfast including dairy, fruit and lean protein, is a popular food item that experts say can easily address the hunger gap experienced by families throughout the community. 

“We so appreciate Valley Baptist Health System’s efforts to once again host the Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive, and we are grateful for their commitment to building a healthy community,” said Stuart Haniff, MHA- CEO of the Food Bank RGV. “Summer is a particularly challenging time for our Food Bank because many children in need don’t have access to nutritious school breakfast, leaving their families turning to us for help. Because of the generosity of Valley Baptist and the Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive, these families will now have a healthy, whole-grain cereal breakfast every summer morning.”

At Valley Baptist-Brownsville, donations can be dropped off at the Stillman Lobby information desk. At Valley Baptist-Harlingen, donations can be delivered to the hospital’s South Tower Lobby.

About Valley Baptist Health System

Valley Baptist Health System is an 866-bed faith-based regional health system located in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. It is focused on helping people achieve health for life through compassionate service inspired by faith. Valley Baptist extends many of its services beyond its facilities and into local communities, offering free screenings for the community, support groups and numerous educational opportunities. For more information, visit www.ValleyBaptist.net.