We work with the following agencies to get nutritional food to those in need in Cooper County:
NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS
OTTERVILLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
PRAIRIE HOME UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
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 Cooper County, we distribute Buddy Packs through the following schools:
DAVID BARTON ELEMENTARY
HANNAH COLE ELEMENTARY
OTTERVILLE R-VI ELEMETNARY
PRAIRIE HOME R-5
Providing 1 Buddy Pack every weekend for 1 school year = $180
In the News
The Food Bank Receives Funding from Caterpillar Foundation to Help Children in Cooper County
BOONVILLE – The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri has received a $10,717 grant from Caterpillar’s philanthropic organization, the Caterpillar Foundation, to provide Buddy Packs to children in Cooper County. A member of the Feeding American network, The Food Bank is one of 34 food banks nationwide to receive this grant.
“Many area children rely on Buddy Packs to have adequate nutrition during the weekends,” said Darren White, regional coordinator for The Food Bank. “We are thankful to the Caterpillar Foundation for its commitment to fighting hunger and supporting children in our community.”
In Cooper County, 63% of school children qualify for free or reduced price lunch during the school week. Buddy Packs ensure these same children have food on weekends and holidays.
“The Caterpillar Foundation is committed to alleviating poverty in the communities in which we live and work,” said Michele Sullivan, president of the Caterpillar Foundation. “We are proud to partner with The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri to support children in Cooper County who may not know where their next meal will come from.”
The Caterpillar Foundation’s national investment will help 300,000 people facing hunger in Caterpillar communities in 44 counties. Caterpillar Foundation has helped provide more than 5 million meals to Caterpillar communities since 2015.
The Food Bank serves a 32-county service area. In the first half of 2016, The Food Bank has distributed more than 256,000 pounds of food in Cooper County.
Score Campaign Now Includes Cooper County
Columbia Orthopaedic Group has become the presenting sponsor of the 2016 Missouri Tigers Score Against Hunger campaign, which will be held in Cooper 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 256,000 pounds in Cooper 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. Columbia Orthopaedic Group has reached the Touchdown line, the highest sponsorship level possible.
“Columbia Orthopaedic Group has been a tremendous partner to us over the years,” Lopez said. “We hope the group’s example inspires others to join us in the ongoing fight against hunger in our communities.”
Families Rely on Otterville Pantry
To donors who make the work of The Food Bank possible, Cleota of Otterville says thank you.
"I love them for blessing my life," she said last month waiting for the Otterville Food Pantry to open. "If it wasn't for them, I would go hungry. If it wasn't for her, we would all go hungry."
"Her" is Rita Henson. Henson, along with her husband, Jim, started the food pantry there three years ago after the local high school held a food drive and collected so much food, no one was quite sure how to distribute it.
The Hensons pitched the idea of a pantry to leaders at Otterville Presbyterian Church who agreed to provide space but told the couple they would be on their own in terms of operating it.
They were not on their own for long. Volunteers have come out in force to help, Rita said. And they are loyal, including Rick Miller, who drives to Columbia twice a month to pick up food from The Food Bank Warehouse.
Having the pantry in the church basement worked for a few years, but posed challenges. There was barely room to store food, and steep stairs made it difficult for elderly or disabled clients to come, Rita said.
Several months ago, a storefront down the street became vacant.
Rita dipped into her personal savings to buy it for the pantry.
"Because God told me to," she said. "And God has continued to bless us."
Those blessings are trickling down to the nearly 400 families that have come to rely on the local pantry.
J.D. uses food from the pantry to supplement what he can provide through hunting and fishing. "What little assistance I get pays the light bills and insurance, so this helps me out."