Total Pounds Shipped to Adair County in 2016:

649,066 lbs

We work with the following agencies to ensure residents of Adair County have access to nutritional meals:


We distribute Buddy Packs on Fridays to children who receive
free or reduced-price lunches at school. In some cases, this food is the only nutrition these children have at home during weekends and holidays. In Adair County, we distribute Buddy Packs through the following schools:


Providing 1 Buddy Pack every weekend for 1 school year = $180


In The News

Stepping up to the plate:
Meeting food insecurity needs in Kirksville

By John Smelcer / For the KIRKSVILLE Daily Express

As I wrote in my last column, Kirksville may be a small town with a big heart, but it’s not a rich town. For many of its 17,505 residents, particularly young and old, hunger is a persistent issue. Fortunately, there are numerous programs and organizations that help meet their needs, be it daily, weekly, or monthly. For over a month, I explored the various ways that folks in town serve the needs of others by volunteering, interviewing, donating, and even partaking of the nutritious meals.

I recently spent a couple mornings helping the Christian Community Food Depot just off Osteopathy and Burton. The building is owned by A.T. Still University, but they very generously donate the space to the Food Depot. Every Thursday, the doors open for the public from noon to 1 p.m. (they stay open longer if people are still in line). In the hour before opening, volunteers prepare the packages to hand out. This week, half a dozen volunteers from the Church of Latter Day Saints gave a hand. Regularly, groups from local churches or other organizations lend a hand. I was amazed at the line of vehicles when the doors opened. The line stretched around the side of the building. Two of the regular volunteers, Bill Jecusco and Danny Bull, told me that they recalled times when the line of cars went clear around the building and backed up on Osteopathy, blocking traffic. The Food Depot receives its food from local sources, but also from the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri located in Columbia. A little later, we three delivered food to the Helping Hands Mission and to Village 76.

On another Thursday morning, I helped the Food Depot load up “Buddy Packs” for local school children that have been identified as being food insecure—children who get meals at school, but for various reasons may have little nutrition at home over the weekends. You cannot in good conscience tell a hungry child that you gave them food yesterday. For over an hour, trucks and even a school bus arrived to load the packages, which are distributed at area schools the following afternoon. This time, a half dozen or more members of Delta Sigma Pi from Truman State arrived to help. I was heartened that business majors understood the need for giving back to communities. The space used for storing and loading “Buddy Packs” is rented by the Food Bank in Columbia.

As part of my investigation, I wanted to follow the food. The trails inevitably led to the Food Bank in Columbia, so I went and visited there on a beautiful Friday morning. I brought my six year old daughter along to instill in her the value of volunteerism and the importance of nonprofits. (It was also an excuse to go to Starbucks, Five Guys, and Chuck E. Cheese.) To say I was impressed would be an understatement. The facility, 65,000 square feet in total, was amazing. I was greeted by Janese Silvey and Lindsay Young Lopez, who bedazzled me by her knowledge as we toured the facility. Almost 50,000 square feet of the Food Bank is warehouse for food stacked on shelves to the ceiling. Every year they distribute 32 million pounds of food in the northeast and central region of Missouri, which includes over thirty counties and 133 partner agencies. In any given year, the entire warehouse is stocked, distributed, and restocked twenty times. That’s a lot of food! Surprisingly, of the total distribution, only about 5% of food comes from food drives. 95% is purchased in bulk by the Food Solicitor, whose job it is to find the best deals nationwide. Every dollar donated can provide $20 worth of food. Annually, 46,000 people volunteer their time, 25,000 at the Food Bank facility alone. Only 62 regular employees keep the Food Bank operating smoothly. In a super clean packaging room accredited by the American Institute of Baking, I watched volunteers in hair nets preparing some of the 7,500 “Buddy Packs” that go out to 157 schools each week. Plenty of studies show the negative effects of hunger on learning. The Food Bank also supports summer lunch programs for school children, including one here in Kirksville. One of their new programs is geared toward serving veterans in the region. The V.I.P. pilot program serves 650 vets in Boone County. If you’d like to learn how you can help or donate, go to

The Food Bank also supports the Adair County Mobile Food Pantry, a truck that travels around communities in central and northeast Missouri delivering food. The truck stops in Kirksville once a month in the parking lot of the Hamilton Street Baptist Church off Osteopathy. Call 665-4633 to learn more about the program and schedule. The Crossing, on the south side of town, also has a food pantry that is open one day each month.

On one particularly rainy day, I had a wonderful lunch at Helping Hands Mission. The lunch consisted of ham that was donated by a local funeral parlor after a memorial service and bread donated from Subway. I learned that Subway donates unsold bread at the end of each day; thereby ensuring customers have only fresh bread. A dozen or more other people were also enjoying the lunch. The mission began about fifteen years ago. For many of those years, it was located just off the downtown square, but it moved to its new location at 402 and 404 N. Elson about a year ago. The Mission, which is open from 11:30-2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (closed on Sunday and Monday), operates a thrift store next door. The proceeds are used to cover operating costs and the costs of buying food. Ron Fischer, who volunteers there with his wife, estimates that they serve around 15,000 meals a year! Contact Helping Hands Mission at 730-5041.

Subway isn’t the only business in town that donates food to local organizations. Walmart, Hy-Vee, and Aldi’s all lend a helping hand. Folks like Danny and Bill from The Christian Community Food Depot make a weekly trip to these stores, while volunteers from other organizations like the Salvation Army make similar food runs to the same stores on different days.

Truman State University and A.T.S.U. regularly sponsor food drives to help support local organizations. The Pickler Memorial Library at Truman, for example, offers its annual “Food for Fines” food drive where students can pay their library fines by donating food to the Food Bank.

Score Campaign Now Includes Adair County

The Missouri Tigers Score Against Hunger campaign, will be held in Adair County for the first time ever.

The campaign is The Food Bank’s largest fundraising effort. Each fall, it challenges University of Missouri football fans to get in on the action by pledging a dollar amount per point scored during the season or by directing an outright gift to the Tigers’ campaign. 

Missouri Tigers Score Against Hunger began in 1995 under then MU Football Head Coach Larry Smith and continued under the helm of Coach Gary Pinkel. This year, Head Coach Barry Odom has agreed to carry on the tradition and participate. 

“With excitement around a new season under a new coach, we decided it was a good year to expand the campaign to all of our counties,” said Lindsay Young Lopez, executive director. “We know there are Tigers fans throughout central and northeast Missouri, so we wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to participate, as well.”

Donations from Score go directly into the acquisition and distribution of food to those in need. As of June 30, the half-way point in the fiscal year, The Food Bank had distributed more than 322,000 pounds of food in Adair County.

Missouri Tigers Score Against Hunger also encourages businesses and individuals to make leadership gifts, and those who do so are invited to a Victory Luncheon at the end of the season featuring Coach Odom.

Kirksville Mobile Pantry Serves Need in Adair County

Autumn Koulk, 31, loaded boxes of chicken breasts, lunchmeat, potatoes and juice into the trunk of her car last month while volunteers inside Faith United Methodist Church watched her 2-month-old.

The mom of three is on leave from a job at Head Start. Her husband is a school teacher in Milan, but "one check doesn't go far when you pay bills and get groceries," she said.

"I'm thankful for those who help provide for our families when we can't," she said.

Koulk's was one of 94 families that received food at the second Mobile Pantry to be held at the church. The mobile began in March to address the need in Adair County. 

Although The Food Bank distributed nearly 500,000 pounds of food in Adair last year, an estimated 2 million pounds of food is needed in the county based on persons in poverty.

The Mobile Pantry on April 20 was moved inside because of weather. Standing in a rainy mist on a cold morning, 3-year-old twins Gabe and Kurt waited with their grandmother, Shannon Curtis, for the doors to open. Curtis is a retired nurse who is taking care of her 86-year-old father while also temporarily housing her daughter, son-in-law and their three young boys while her daughter uses her GI Bill benefits to attend college.

Having a house full is tough, Curtis said. "This definitely helps out."

Katrina Todd is also going through a rough time after having to quit her job at Walmart because of conditions related to congenital heart disease. She had been a stay-at-home mom until her divorce and has since worked various retail jobs to care for her 12-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son.

"I need more food in the house," she said. "It gets tough when you get down to the end of the month."

Lisa Gersham is also dealing with the aftermath of divorce, having recently moved to Kirksville after living in Rolla with her husband for more than 20 years. "The hardest thing has been dealing with the price of everything," she said. "I clip a lot of coupons."