TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - More than 279,000 servings of healthy breakfast foods, which will benefit the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, were brought in during Carondelet Health Network's annual Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive.
"Thanks to Carondelet and the Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive, many families will have a healthy, whole-grain cereal breakfast every morning this summer," said Michael McDonald, CEO, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
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 during the summer months when children are not in school.
"Carondelet Health Network and its associates are proud to lead this community effort to provide area children and adults with a healthy breakfast this summer," said Mark Benz, CEO, Carondelet. "We are also grateful for the many community members and businesses that stepped up to donate healthy cereal in the drop off boxes at our hospitals."
Cereal donations were accepted June 1-8 at Carondelet St. Mary's, Carondelet St. Joseph's and Carondelet Holy Cross hospitals, as well as throughout the Carondelet Health Network and with many community partners.
"Hunger doesn't take a vacation during summer months when children are home from school. Our annual cereal drive recognizes the importance of beginning each day with a nutritious breakfast," added Theresa Mouton, chief financial officer, Carondelet Health Network.
Online cash donations of more than $25,000 contributed to the cereal serving total. Those donations will be matched by Tenet Healthcare, the parent company of Carondelet Health Network.
Summer is a particularly difficult time because many children in need can no longer rely on school meals for a nutritious breakfast, explained Benz.
He added, "At Carondelet Health Network, we understand the health issues many families face from hunger and poor nutrition. We hope these donations of healthy cereal will help those in our community who are struggling to put food on the table."
According the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona:
- 1 in 4 children and 1 in 5 adults are at risk of hunger across the state of Arizona
- 200,000 individuals may not know where their next meal will come from in southern Arizona
- 3 out of 5 southern Arizona children qualify for free or reduced-cost school breakfast each school year