Help Restore the Food Supply
Dec 18, 2009
St. James Leader
St. James, Mo. -
In the wake of recent layoffs and with record unemployment rates, thousands of central and northeastern Missourians who never dreamed they would need help from a food bank are now making desperate choices to put food on the table.
Working adults are not the only ones facing this silent hardship. Hungry children struggle to concentrate in school and seniors compromise their already fragile health.
In Phelps County, 7.1 percent of the population is unemployed. Perhaps the more shocking statistic is that over one half of school-age children in the county qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program. In the first ten months of 2009, over 500 more visits were made to Phelps County pantries than in the first ten months of 2008.
The Central Missouri Food Bank is making efforts to keep up with the growing need.
The CMFB has distributed over 550 thousand pounds of free food to Phelps County hunger relief agencies.
The BuddyPack program, which sends backpacks of food home with hungry children on weekends, has also grown. Last school year ended with 70 schools enrolled in the BuddyPack program. So far this year, 80 schools are enrolled and the program is helping to feed more than an astonishing 3,600 children a week.
The CMFB needs help more than ever to feed more people and there are several ways for individual citizens or groups to lend a hand:
• Hold a food drive, a special event, or a fund drive.
• Volunteer time.
• Hold a backpack drive for the BuddyPack program
• Sponsor one BuddyPack child for the whole year with just $100.
The Central Missouri Food Bank is a regional network providing disaster and hunger relief through 135 agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters for the homeless and abused, senior programs, children’s feeding programs and 80 partner elementary schools in 32 counties in central and northeast Missouri. In Phelps County, the following agencies receive free food from the CMFB:
• Phelps County Faith Distribution, Inc.
• St. James Caring Center
• Lucy W. James Elementary participates in the BuddyPack program.
For more information about the Central Missouri Food Bank, please visit www.centralmofoodbank.org or call (800) 764-FOOD.
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