By Wendy Phillips, Regional Vice President, Morrison Healthcare
Hunger never takes a summer vacation. And kids shouldn’t have to be hungry. That’s why I and several Morrison associates plan to donate hundreds of boxes of healthy, nutritious cereal next month to help fight food insecurity in Greater Cleveland.
Millions of U.S. school children receive a free breakfast every day during the school year. But when summer comes, many of these children miss this nutrient-rich meal.
From June 7-11, the first week of summer vacation for Cleveland area schools, Morrison and the Cleveland Clinic Stanley Shalom Zielony Institute will participate in the National Cereal Drive. For the entire week, collection stations for cereal box donations will be available at Cleveland Clinic facilities in Northeast Ohio. For those who can’t make it in person, online donations – referred to as “milk money” – will also be accepted.
As the cereal boxes are collected, we will store them all week and then donate them to the local community food bank.
Our goal is a big number. Together, we hope to topple the 285,000 servings that were donated in 2019, a 35 percent increase from the previous year.
“It’s amazing to see how caregivers throughout our healthcare system rise to the challenge to collect cereal and “milk” money to ensure that children in their communities have breakfast during the summer months when schools are out,” says Maya Shamailov, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Cleveland Clinic. Maya is in her 5th year coordinating this event, which is her way of giving back to her community.
The motto of the event — hunger does not take a summer vacation — makes it clear we are focused on helping children. Many cereals have plenty of fiber and are enriched with vitamins and minerals, so when we talk about food security, we want to provide food people are accustomed to eating.
The National Cereal Drive event originated 11 years at the DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Through its partnership with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, more than 500,000 servings of cereal were raised last year. About a dozen hospitals throughout the US participate in the event.
For us, it’s a particularly important event because it fits with our company’s mission to address food insecurity and how it can better serve the community.
When we team up with a healthcare institution, we want to explore how we also can have a larger impact on the community around us. We understand that our impact reaches far beyond the hospital’s walls and can help so many people in need. That’s why this event is so important.