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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.”