Central Pantry feeding site to include produce-themed activities


Children participating in Summer Food 4 Kids at Central Pantry in Columbia will have an extra treat.

A mini classroom will be set up outside of the feeding area where The Food Bank staff will promote farm-to-table fun using a variety of activities. Days will include "cooking" demonstrations, allowing children to make their own fruit salads, banana deserts, carrot pops using 100% carrot juice and other produce-related activities. Story and coloring days will also teach children about fresh fruits and vegetables. And "plant a seed" days will demonstrate how to plant a variety of fruits and vegetables. Supplies are coming from a No Kid Hungry grant from Share Our Strength, with seeds and planting supplies donated by the University of Missouri's Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security.

"We're really excited about this new program," said Stacey Brown, children's program coordinator at The Food Bank. "We know healthy habits start early. This will allow us to introduce or reinforce to children the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables."

Summer Food 4 Kids begins July 5 in Columbia. The program runs from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday through Aug. 12. Total Care Health and Mike Kelly/HM Risk are helping to sponsor the Columbia feeding locations this year.

Summer Food 4 Kids provides lunches at no charge to children 18 and under during the summer months when school is not in session. Lunches include sandwiches, milk and at least one fruit or vegetable.

In Kirksville, the program, including lunches, games and activities, began earlier this month at four sites.

In Jefferson City, children are allowed to pick up pre-bagged lunches at any of four sites starting June 27.