Our Buddy Pack program started in 2005 in five schools in Boone, Cole and Audrain counties. Back then, the food could easily be supplied from what was already on our warehouse floor.  Teachers took note of children who clearly needed a helping hand.   ”Food closets” in classrooms or school offices were used to distribute the food back then.

Since that time, Buddy Packs have grown to provide for 6,500 students at 134 schools in 27 counties. And in order to get the right mix of nutritious products for those children, The Food Bank now purchases food wholesale as well as relying on donations from the public. This makes the Buddy Pack program the most expensive program The Food Bank operates, and the need is far from being met.

With rising food and transportation costs, The Food Bank estimates it will cost $180 to provide one child with a Buddy Pack for an entire school year. This makes The Food Bank’s total cost about $1.19 million a year.

But seeing the joy on a little girl’s face when she gets her Buddy Pack on Friday, or hearing her older brother sigh with relief about not having to worry about her weekend food needs,  puts the cost in perspective. One out of every five children in The Food Bank’s service area do not always know where they will get their next meal.  But it’s more than just “having something to eat.”  Medical science shows children need good nutrition to grow and learn. The Food Bank is committed to feed those in need.

With your continued help, we can make a difference. Please consider “Adopting a Buddy” to help one child in your community with weekend nutrition. All it takes is $15 each month to provide one Buddy Pack for an entire school year.  Or, team up with family, friends or neighbors and Adopt a Buddy.  For example, four friends might chip-in $45 apiece to Adopt a Buddy for the school year.  The possibilities — and the need for good people to step-up and help — are almost endless.


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