Hope for Heroes 5k to Benefit Veterans

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With support from Veterans United Home Loans and Veterans United Foundation, The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri is hosting its first-ever Hope for Heroes 5k to raise money for Veterans programming.

The event will begin with an opening celebration at 7:45 a.m. Saturday, June 23, at Cosmo Park.

Following remarks and recognition of special guests, participants will run, walk or use a wheelchair to complete the 5k route.

Veterans United and Veterans United Foundation are sponsoring Hope for Heroes, which will help The Food Bank expand the VIP Veteran Pack Program. VIP Veteran Packs are boxes of ready-to-eat entrees, canned fruits and vegetables, nutritional bars and other items for Veterans in need in the Central Missouri region. Personal care items are also included.

“Veterans United Foundation has been helping us share extra supplemental nutrition with local Veterans for two years,” said Lindsay Young Lopez, executive director of The Food Bank. “We so appreciate the company and foundation for presenting our first-ever 5k to encourage others to join the fight against hunger among our heroes in need.”

The program began as a pilot program in Boone County in 2016 with a grant from Veterans United Foundation. Since 2016, the foundation has given more than $76,000 to help fund the program. This year, the program began in Benton and Cole counties with plans to continue expansion throughout The Food Bank’s 32-county service area.

“The VIP Veteran Pack Program strikes at the core of the values we live by at Veterans United,” said Dr. Amanda Andrade, chief people officer at Veterans United. “Without this program, some of our most vulnerable Veterans would not have access to the essential nutrition most of us take for granted. We are excited to support a program that has such a significant impact on our community.”

Stamp Out Hunger - 'A Labor of Love' for Postal Workers

 Lindell Lee and Kevin Boyer are longtime Postal Workers who have been stamping out hunger for 26 years. 

Lindell Lee and Kevin Boyer are longtime Postal Workers who have been stamping out hunger for 26 years. 

Kevin Boyer was off work Saturday but at the Columbia Post Office nonetheless.

Had he been scheduled to work, the longtime letter carrier says he would have requested off—so that he could work the annual Stamp Out Hunger food and fund drive at the Post Office, instead.

“I love it,” said Boyer, who has been part of the nation’s largest one-day food drive since the National Association of Letter Carriers started it 26 years ago.

Food and monetary donation totals are still being calculated, but it’s safe to say this year’s drive was a success. Volunteers across The Food Bank’s 32-county service area—and across the country—collected donations alongside postal workers, while volunteers back at the Post Office sorted the goods. By the end of the day, backs were sore and feet were tired but hearts were full.

“I love seeing the community come together to do something for others for one day,” Boyer said, scanning the large boxes overflowing with food. “It’s a labor of love.”

Lindell Lee, another longtime postal worker and local Stamp Out Hunger organizer, also spent Saturday at the drive, even though it was officially his first day of vacation. He, too, has been helping out at the event since its inception. Like past years, he brought his family along to help, too.

“My daughter has been doing this since she was 2,” he said.

Canned beans, canned fruits and vegetables and boxed goods were popular donations on Saturday, as were monetary donations. Because of its tremendous purchasing power, for every $10 gift, The Food Bank is able to acquire and distribute $210 worth of groceries.

“I tell people if you want to go out and buy six cans of green beans, that’s fine—we’ll take it,” Boyer said. “But The Food Bank can do so much more with money.”

Although the one-day drive is over, it is not too late to be a part of the total collected, as financial gifts will continue to come in over the next few weeks. Click below to direct your gift to Stamp Out Hunger.

Oh baby! Float Your Boat full of fun, surprises

 Megan Kinkade with husband, Travis, newborn, Hunter, and daughter, Quinn, 5. 

Megan Kinkade with husband, Travis, newborn, Hunter, and daughter, Quinn, 5. 

Less than 72 hours after giving birth to a 10-pound boy, Hunter, fourth-grade teacher Megan Kinkade could be found in the bleachers cheering on her students at Float Your Boat for The Food Bank at Bass Pro Shops Lake on Saturday.

“I made the hospital let me leave a day early,” said Kinkade, with Hunter, husband Travis and daughter, Quinn, in tow. “My kids worked so hard on this, and I’m so proud of them.”

Kinkade had good reason to be proud. Not only did her class’s boat, Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom capture the look and spirit of the popular children’s book, it also took third place for fastest time in the short-course races.

Kinkade was one of several teachers from Mill Creek whose classes participated in Float Your Boat. Each of the Mill Creek boats paid tribute to children’s literature, including Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, Harry Builds a Boat and Pete the Cat. Mill Creek’s fourth graders have participated in the event for several years, and this year, the school’s chess club also got in the action.

More than 40 teams created cardboard boats to sail at Bass Pro Shops this year as part of the seventh annual Float Your Boat for The Food Bank. Most made it successfully across the lake with a few turning over along the way. Keep Calm and Float On did exactly the opposite, sinking dramatically enough to earn the notorious Titanic Award.

 Titanic Award winners Keep Calm and Float On.

Titanic Award winners Keep Calm and Float On.

Watlow’s Big Dubya also cracked under pressure. The boat was Ruben Bolton’s second attempt at creating a boat with nothing but cardboard—no glue, caulk or paint used. Bolton debuted his first Nothing But Cardboard boat at the 2017 event. He sailed that one again successfully but his attempt at creating a lighter one for co-workers at Watlow sank seconds after the boat hit the water.

Several other boats returned from past races. Families from the Elmerineos neighborhood raced their Ghostbusters-themed boat again this year not only in the short course, but the dads of the group raced it a second time in the long course, taking third place for speed.

EAG had two boats in the competition again this year, one elaborate gondola that took the Allure of the Sea award but sunk its first attempt on the lake. The team managed to get back in the boat and sail it a second time successfully. A smaller, more basic boat named for Leroy the dog sailed perfectly.

The Duncavage family from Clayton, Mo., signed up for Float Your Boat after having built a cardboard sailboat for a different race that was canceled. The family of four learned that sails might not be the best option for racing on a windy day. They tipped over in the middle of Bass Pro Shops Lake.  

EDI took home the People’s Choice Award for raising the most money for The Food Bank. This was the fourth year in a row the company has snagged the award. This year, the team also set out to build the fastest boat and succeeded, taking home first place in the long course with a time of 1.05 minutes.

See more photos here.

Other awards include:

PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD

EDI

SHORT COURSE TIMED

1. The Penguin                           0.52
2. The Little Sinker                     1.05
3. Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom 1.18

LONG COURSE TIMED

1. EDI                                        1.05
2. Kon-Liki                                 1.22
3. Deja Vu                                 1.26

ALLURE OF THE SEA

The EAG Gondola - Long Course
The Penguin - Short Course
 

LOCH NESS AWARD

Dragon Heart - Long Course
JMS Titanic - Short Course

CAPTAIN'S AWARD

The Bluff's Sea Nile - Long Course
Dia de los muertos - Short Course

TITANIC AWARD

Keep Calm and Float On

CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S CARDBOARD

Hope Floats - Long Course
WSMSense - Short Course

COLORING CONTEST WINNERS

Best Overall - Kate Kampeter
Most Creative - Benjamin Talbott
Best Mixed Media - Ellen Duncavage

 

Stamp Out Hunger May 12

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Area residents are invited to participate in the nation’s largest one-day food and fund drive on Saturday, May 12, during the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger event.

During the drive, mail carriers will serve double duty by delivering mail and collecting donations on behalf of The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri.

Bags and envelopes will be delivered to homes the week of May 7-11. Monetary gifts may be
mailed back or left in the bags or in mailboxes; and non-perishable food items should be placed in the bags and left outside for pick-up on Saturday, May 12.

Most-needed items include peanut butter, canned meat, canned fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereal, rice, beans and boxed meal helpers. All items will be distributed to pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies within the county in which it is collected. 

Monetary gifts will be used to purchase groceries, including fresh produce, protein and dairy—
perishable items that cannot be donated through the food drive. Because of The Food Bank’s
purchasing power, every $10 gift purchases and distributes $210 worth of groceries for
neighbors in need.

Healthy food having an impact at In2Action

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When In2Action became partners with The Food Bank late last year, Director Dan Hanneken was surprised by the quality of food provided.

And the impact of those dietary improvements among the residents there, he says, has been nothing short of amazing.

“Since getting healthier food, something new started happening,” Hanneken says. “The guys began believing they can take care of themselves physically. They’re going jogging. They’re going out for bike rides. I don’t know if they’re thinking ‘if we can eat healthy, we can take care of ourselves in other ways, as well.’ But I’ve never seen anything like it.”

In2Action is a not-for-profit that helps men successfully transition into society after serving prison time. Prior to The Food Bank, the agency used funding from state contracts to provide one-time $150 gift cards that allowed new residents to buy food until they could find work. Because the program requires clients to wait 30 days before seeking employment, that grocery allowance had to last.

“When you’re on a budget like that, how healthy the food is at the store is not even a consideration,” Hanneken says. “You want to get as much as you can for as little as possible.”

Last year, In2Action saw its state funding cut. Hanneken was not sure what the agency was going to do about food. He feared that hunger would have a negative impact on residents’ success.

“These guys are released from prison without any resources or support and are told to go do the right thing,” he says. “Things like getting hungry can cause them to make decisions they had no intention of making. We have to remove those distractions by meeting basic needs.” Hanneken says he is grateful for The Food Bank and those who make the operation possible. “These guys have to eat today, no matter what,” he says. “This partnership has been an incredible difference maker.”

'Our fridge is full because of you'

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Before seeking refuge at True North, Jane* remembers when food was scarce. “I remember scrounging for change for a gallon of milk,” she says. “When I came here, I didn’t have anything. To be able to go into a pantry and get food was really cool.”

Food is a critical component of True North’s residential program, which serves about 25 women and children at any given time, says Elizabeth Herrera, executive director.

Women leaving abusive situations sometimes fear not being able to provide. “Food insecurity is a big issue, especially when you have children,” Herrera says. When food is provided, she  adds, women can concentrate on finding employment and stable housing.

And for women fleeing domestic violence, food nourishes more than the body. It can also be empowering, says Amber Servey-Dorman, shelter coordinator. “Our clients are free to eat whenever and wherever they want,” she says. “Having access to food and ownership over those food choices is huge. Something as simple as that can make someone feel as though she is back in control of that part of her life.”

True North is one of more than 20 shelters The Food Bank provides food to at no charge. These types of partnerships make sense because of The Food Bank’s affiliation with Feeding America and its bulk purchasing power.

“When it comes to groceries, we can stretch a dollar so much further than our partner agencies can,” The Food Bank’s Executive Director Lindsay Young Lopez says. “That allows those organizations to invest their resources in other needs.”

Jane said she is thankful knowing the shelves there will remain stocked. “I’m very grateful knowing we have food. There are kids here who otherwise wouldn’t have anything to eat, and that’s a scary thought. Our fridge is full because of you.”



*Name has been changed

The Food Bank distributes 29.8 million pounds in 2017

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The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri distributed 29,803,129 pounds of food in 2017.

We provided that food at no charge to more than 140 partner agencies such as Salvation Army, Rainbow House, True North, Welcome Home, Samaritan Center and Serve, Inc.

The Food Bank this past year put more emphasis on quality of food over quantity, Executive Director Lindsay Young Lopez said.

Of the total pounds distributed, 61 percent was in the form of “foods to encourage”—defined by Feeding America as produce, protein, dairy and whole grains.

“We have made it a priority to distribute healthier food options,” Lopez said. “As we provide food to more than other non-profits, we know we are on the front lines of health for the people they serve. We are committed to sharing food that not only solves hunger but also enhances the quality of life for our neighbors in need.”

To increase distribution of healthier foods, The Food Bank encouraged monetary donations to allow for the purchase of fresh, perishable goods. Because of The Food Bank’s affiliation with Feeding America and the ability to purchase bulk food at heavily reduced costs, every $10 donation secures $210 worth of healthier grocery options.

“We are so thankful to our donors, volunteers and supporters for helping make our operation possible,” Lopez said. “By sharing nutritious food, we are bringing hope for a healthier tomorrow.”

See the full report here.

Score Against Hunger campaign raises record $1.3 million

 Missouri Tigers Head Football Coach Barry Odom address supporters at the Score Against Hunger Victory Luncheon at Memorial Stadium.

Missouri Tigers Head Football Coach Barry Odom address supporters at the Score Against Hunger Victory Luncheon at Memorial Stadium.

Following their daily practice, Missouri Tigers football players take time for breakfast.

“Every morning we take that break because I know the importance of having fuel for the day,” Coach Barry Odom said.

And it is just as important for children across central and northeast Missouri to have breakfast, too. That is why Odom is proud to be part the annual Score Against Hunger fundraising campaign, he told supporters of The Food Bank at this year’s Score Against Hunger Victory Luncheon.

“It’s a wonderful cause,” he said. “When you hear about Buddy Packs and see the number of kids who get a chance to eat because of your donations, it’s awesome.”

Score Against Hunger began in 1995 and invites Mizzou fans to raise money alongside the team to support The Food Bank. It has become The Food Bank’s largest annual fundraising campaign, and 2017 was no exception.

This year’s campaign raised a record-breaking $1.3 million in sponsorships, in-kind donations and outright gifts.

Mike Kelly, “Voice of the Tigers” and co-chair of the campaign committee, said it makes sense for Tiger fans to team up with The Food Bank, the Official Charitable Partner of Mizzou Athletics.

“It is fitting that Tiger fans would be on the forefront of tackling hunger in central and northeast Missouri,” he said. “Thank you. It takes all of us to solve hunger.”

Campaigns that focus on fundraising are especially important as The Food Bank continues to put more emphasis on the distribution of foods that encourage healthy lifestyles—namely produce, protein, dairy and whole grains. Of the 29.8 million pounds of food The Food Bank distributed in 2017, more than 60 percent was in the form of foods that encourage.

“Fresh food is perishable and cannot be donated through traditional food drives, so the Score campaign is important to raise monetary gifts that can be used to purchase healthy, perishable food,” Kelly said.

In addition to Odom and Kelly, the Score luncheon held at Memorial Stadium included Jim Sterk, director of Mizzou Athletics, members of the Score Committee and members of The Food Bank’s Board of Directors. Donors who made contributions of $1,000 or more were also in attendance.

“I’m proud of this campaign and our accomplishments,” said The Food Bank’s Executive Director, Lindsay Young Lopez. “Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many.”

Missouri Gaming Commission challenges other agencies to wear jeans, give back

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Missouri Gaming Commission challenges other state agencies to wear jeans, give back

The Missouri Gaming Commission has issued a challenge for other state agencies: Wear blue jeans and give back.

For more than five years, the gaming commission has allowed staff members to make a $1 donation in exchange for the privilege of wearing jeans on Thursdays and/or Fridays. Money goes to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri’s Buddy Pack program.

LeAnn McCarthy, public information coordinator for the department, said the program has had a number of benefits. Since it began, MGC employees have raised $18,699—the equivalent of providing Buddy Packs to more than 100 children every single weekend during the school year.
It’s also created a better work environment.

“Everybody likes to wear jeans, so that’s a benefit, and the fact we’re helping provide Buddy Packs to children who need food over weekends and breaks, that’s an added benefit,” she said.
The MGC made its first contribution in 2013 after staff collectively decided which charitable program they wanted to support.

Executive Director Bill Seibert was instrumental in the effort, McCarthy said.

“It was his idea to help children in school, and from there the idea became to help those children who needed food,” she said.

The Buddy Pack Program distributes food on Fridays to children who rely on free or reduced-price lunch at school. At elementary schools, kid-friendly entrees, fruit cups, cereal with shelf-stable milk and nutritional bars are sent home in discreet bags that are tucked inside students’
backpacks. The Food Bank serves 7,500 children weekly through the Buddy Pack Program at 167 schools.

The Missouri Gaming Commission’s donation specifically benefits children at schools located in counties in which employees reside.

The department feels so strongly about supporting the program that it began a second campaign in 2016. Employees are challenged to decorate their offices and cubical areas for Christmas, then they may donate $1 to vote on their favorite displays.

“It’s popular. People like to participate, and our winners really went over the top with decorations,” McCarthy said, adding that the holiday effort raises about $400 a year.

The gaming commission has since challenged other state agencies to start a similar type of charitable campaign, McCarthy said, adding that it benefits not only the community and state but also staff members.

“Everybody feels good about the effort and the amount of money we’ve given,” she said. “It’s substantial.”

The Food Bank welcomes new board members

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The Food Bank welcomes new board members

The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri is excited to announce the addition of four members to its Board of Directors.

David Coil, Gina Gervino, Paula Fleming and Marty McCormick will begin serving at the January board meeting following an orientation.

 David Coil

David Coil

 Gina Gervino

Gina Gervino

 Paula Fleming

Paula Fleming

 Marty McCormick

Marty McCormick

Coil, a Columbia native, is executive vice president of Coil Construction, where he has worked for the past decade. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and an MBA from the University of Missouri. Coil is a member of the American Concrete Institute, serves as vice president of the Board of Directors at Woodhaven and is on the board of MU’s execMBA Alumni Association.

Gervino is senior vice president & general counsel of Columbia Insurance Group, where she also oversees marketing and communications, product development and customer service departments.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a law degree from Baylor University School of Law and is a member of the State Bar in Missouri and Texas. Gervino has served on the board of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and in 2013 received the Women’s Justice Award. She is a graduate of both the Leadership Columbia Class of 2009 as well as the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge Class of 2016.

Fleming is a mental health professional with more than 15 years of executive leadership experience in the nonprofit human services sector. She served as chief operating officer of Great Circle from 2012 to 2017, previously having served as vice president and chief program officer of education and community based services. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Truman State and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in educational and counseling psychology from MU.

McCormick is director of strategic planning and marketing and business and network development at University of Missouri Health Care, where she has served in a number of roles since 1997. In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing marketing and brand strategies to support MU Health Care’s growth initiatives and achieve its mission. McCormick earned her Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees from the University of Missouri.

The Food Bank’s Board of Directors has also elected a new slate of officers for the year. Michael Kateman will serve as president; Heather Hargrove is vice president and Amy Schnieder will serve as secretary. Judy Starr will continue to serve as treasurer, and Todd Weyler is past president.

Central Pantry to operate new hours in 2018

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Central Pantry, the food pantry owned and operated by The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, will have new hours starting Jan. 2, 2018.

Central Pantry to operate new hours in 2018

The pantry will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Central Pantry will no longer be open on Mondays.

The change aims to maximize efficiency, said Eric Maly, director of programs for The Food Bank. Central Pantry has a staff of seven who assist between 10,000 and 12,000 people every month.

“Juggling a six-day work week was challenging,” Maly said. “The schedule did not allow for vacation, sick days or time off for personal situations that come up. This will provide more flexibility for staff.”

The Food Bank surveyed people who utilize the pantry and found that most would be able to adjust to the new hours. Individuals may come to the pantry once a month to pick up groceries, and may come daily to pick up fresh produce.

In addition to operating Central Pantry, The Food Bank provides food at no charge to more than 100,000 individuals monthly through 143 partner agencies including shelters, soup kitchens and senior centers across a 32-county service area. The Food Bank also operates Mobile Pantries, which are refrigerated box trucks that deliver food to communities that do not have brick-and-mortar pantries.

A family tradition

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A family tradition

Some families get together over Sunday lunch. Others host game day parties or movie nights.

For Sarah Woodrow, quality family time can be found at the Ralls County Food Pantry in New London. Every month, Sarah’s grandparents, mom, sister, uncles, aunts and cousins gather at the New London First Baptist Church to help operate the pantry.

On the first Monday of each month, the crew unloads items from The Food Bank truck. That takes most of the day—and sometimes runs into Tuesday. On Wednesday, they return to sort cans and packages and box them up based on household size. Then, on Thursday, they come back to help distribute food to people in need.

Every family member has a task. “I like pushing the carts,” Sarah’s cousin, 8-year-old Adilynne Snodgrass, says.

Four generations working together to share food and bring hope.

Sarah’s mom, Lori Alexander, started the tradition some 20 years ago. A farmer, she was looking for something to do during the off season, and helping others access healthy food is something she is passionate about.

“We know the benefit of nutritious food and were all raised on garden-grown vegetables,” Lori says. “It’s important that people have healthy meals.”

That is a belief she has passed down to Sarah, 25, who has been volunteering at the pantry since she was a child. Today, Sarah works for the University of Missouri Extension’s Family Nutrition Education Program.

A nutrition program associate, she provides taste tests along with nutrition education and materials about making healthy choices at food pantries, including the Ralls County Food Pantry.

Recently, she shared a goulash recipe with clients—and saw success when a woman later said she made the dish and that it had been the first time she had used whole wheat pasta.

Sarah is thrilled that her job lets her carry on the family’s legacy of helping the hungry. “I feel like I’ve come full circle,” she says. “It’s great to come to work, help people and be with family.”