Westlake Hospital Launches Cereal Drive to Benefit Local Food Pantry

MELROSE PARK, Ill. – June 3, 2016 – Westlake Hospital launched Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive to help area families struggling with hunger during the summer. The drive will benefit the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Food Pantry in Melrose Park and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

“At Westlake Hospital, we recognize hunger exists in every city in America, and our compassionate staff is once again eager to join the fight against hunger and make a difference in our community,” said Patrick Maloney, CEO, Westlake Hospital. “Last year, our organization donated nearly 15,000 breakfast food servings and we hope to reach 15, 000 this summer,” Mr. Maloney added.

“Many families in the communities we serve, face economic challenges,” said Marta Alvarado, Director of Wellness Programs, Westlake Hospital. “During the school year, children qualify for the free breakfast and lunch programs provided through government agencies. However, when school ends for summer vacation, the free meal programs end as well. We recognize the importance of good nutrition to good health and hope that, through this drive, we can help those struggling with food insecurity.”

Westlake Hospital offers two ways to contribute to its Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive, beginning June 3, 2016. One does not require a trip to a grocery store as the monetary donations are accepted on the Virtual Food Drive: www.westlakehosp.com/cereal and it is a very convenient way for busy individuals who want to make a difference.

Starting June 3 and through June 10, the hospital also is accepting donations of whole-grain cereal, cereal brands low in calories and sugar, cereal brands high in fiber, and healthy breakfast bars at the main hospital lobby at 1225 West Lake Street in Melrose Park. Donors may call the main hospital number (708) 681-3000 for more information.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2014, 15.8 million children, under the age of 18, in the U.S. are unable to access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. 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. Healthy cereal contains one serving of whole grain, no more than 200 calories per serving, six grams or less of sugar and at least three grams of fiber per serving. It should also be free of artificial colors and dyes.

In Cook County, it is estimated that 1 out of 6 people struggle with hunger. With many hungry mouths to feed, local programing and support is essential.

About Westlake Hospital

Westlake Hospital is a 225-bed hospital located in Melrose Park that is accredited by the Joint Commission as Primary Stoke Center and a Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery. The hospital offers a comprehensive array of advanced inpatient, outpatient and surgical services and is an area leader in bariatric surgery, stroke care and rehabilitative medicine, gynecology, surgical services, and behavioral health. Westlake Hospital is owned by Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a national, diversified healthcare services company with more than 105,000 employees united around a common mission: to help people live happier, healthier lives. The company operates 80 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient centers. Visit www.westlakehosp.com for more information.

About Our Lady of Mount Carmel

For over 100 years the Blessed Mother has been under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at this site in the village of Melrose Park, just outside Chicago. Since the first Feast celebrating Our Lady of Mount Carmel was established by Italian immigrants in 1894, the devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has grown –unabated- attracting a multi-ethic, multi- generational group of devotees who participate in the many spiritual activities here. For more information about the Parish visit http://olmcshrine.org.