Valley Baptist hosts cereal drive for second year

HARLINGEN – Valley Baptist Health System is leading a community effort to provide area children and adults struggling with hunger with a healthy breakfast during the summer through its Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive benefitting the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, a member of the Feeding America network.

The drive began last Friday, and runs through today, Friday, June 10.

“At Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen, we recognize the impact hunger has on health and nutrition, and our staff is eager to make a difference,” said Stephen Hill, Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital.

“We recognize the importance of beginning each day with a nutritious breakfast and, through this drive, we hope to help the many in our community struggling with hunger.”

The students at the Valley Baptist Medical Center School of Vocational Nursing have risen to the challenge, and as a group have already collected more than 160 boxes, with plans for more by Friday.

These enthusiastic nurses-in-training are always on board when the hospital holds a drive, from the “School Supply Drive,” to toy drives, and more. (For more information about the LVN school, go to The entire Valley Baptist staff has been working hard as departments and individuals to beat the total of donations from last year’s drive.

“Last year at the Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive, Valley Baptist collected almost 30,000 servings of cereal, and we are looking to surpass that this year,” stated Teri McCabe Retana, Market Director of Marketing for the Health System.

Nearly one in two children in the RGV live at or below the federal poverty level, and the Food Bank of the RGV serves as a resource for them in Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties.

Food insecurity has fluctuated between one in five and one in seven households in the past 3 years.

It is a fluid situation, where at some time during the calendar year, a family has had to juggle between paying housing, medical or other bills and buying nutritious foods for their family, according to the Food Bank of the RGV website.

On average, they help feed up to 42,000 on a weekly basis via 250 Partner Agencies.

“We appreciate Valley Baptist for hosting the Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive for the second year, and are grateful for its commitment to building a healthy community,” said Terri Drefke, CEO of the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley. “Summer is a particularly difficult time for our food bank because many children in need can no longer rely on their school meals for a nutritious breakfast, so their families often turn to us for help. Thanks to Valley Baptist and the Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive, many families will have a healthy, whole-grain cereal breakfast every summer morning.”


Donations of healthy cereal to the Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive will be collected today, June 10, at the Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen front desk.

To make an online donation, please visit