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Cookout benefits newborns

Centra Southside Community Hospital held a cookout Friday to help a vulnerable demographic in the Heart of Virginia and across the state — newborns.

Several Centra representatives grilled burgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs and provided chips, cookies and bottles of water to fellow employees and members of the community for $5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The funds raised by the event went to March of Dimes, a nonprofit that focuses on preventing infant mortality and premature birth while also providing infant care following birth.

Families with young children were encouraged to beat the heat by having their meals inside of a trailer adjacent to the cookout site.

Sabrina Davis and Kim Harris shared a meal of burgers, baked beans, chips and water during the cookout after hearing about it from social media. Davis, a member of the Zeta Phi Beta chapter in Farmville, said she and the organization have frequently participated in events with proceeds going to March of Dimes. She said she works to help the nonprofit whenever possible.

“Any way I can help March of Dimes, I try to,” Davis said.

Director of Nursing at Centra Southside Community Hospital Jovita Barton served plastic foam trays on which people could place lunch fare and either eat on-site or take the meal to go. Barton said Hospital Marketing Director Kerry Mossler had been instrumental in putting the event together, and Centra leadership has joined together to help.

Barton said the proceeds offer profound assistance to newborns and their families.

“I think it’s great,” Barton said about the event. “The cost of health care of caring for newborns is significant. Any help the parent can get to help the child is great.”

Posters featured during the event highlighted Noah Scruggs and Sydney Scruggs. Noah, who is 10 months old, was born three weeks early and spent two days in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Sydney was also born prematurely.

Melanie Scruggs, who held a March for Babies event in April 2016, said she was excited for Friday’s cookout and the community’s involvement in raising funds.

“It’s great,” Scruggs said. “We support March of Dimes 100 percent.”

One in 10 babies were estimated to have been born prematurely in the U.S. in 2015, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To view more pictures from the event, click here.