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'


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


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


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


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


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.”

Blazing a trail of hope


Mariel Liggett is a trailblazer. 

Over the course of her life and career, Mariel has made a difference in the lives of others, many of whom she will never meet. In the early 1970s, she carved a path for women when she became a certified public accountant, a predominately male occupation at the time. She forged a road at the firm of Williams-Keepers, where she was the first female hired on its professional staff and went on to be its first female partner. 

Now, she is the first living person to become a member of the Heirloom Society, a pacesetter society for those who intend to make a planned gift to The Food Bank. 

Mariel is both a Past Treasurer and Past President of the Board of Directors at The Food Bank, having served on that Board for more than a decade. She credits her mentor, George Keepers, for getting her involved in a cause she is passionate about. She remembers him telling her to “give back to the community that has given so much to you.”

“The Food Bank’s mission tore up my heart, and so I wanted to be a part of it,” Mariel says. “After joining the Board of Directors, I visited the food pantry and couldn’t believe what people were going through. My heart ached and yet was happy at how caring and considerate The Food Bank made it for people to access the food they needed so desperately. And knowing those school kids get their Buddy Packs brings a smile to my face as they are so happy to have something to eat over the weekend.” 

Recently, she made another investment in The Food Bank by expressing her intention to make a planned gift. She joins other inaugural members of the Heirloom Society, which includes individuals who left bequests to The Food Bank. Like Mariel, they wanted their legacies to make a transformational difference in the lives of others for generations to come.  

Mariel is also practical. Leaving planned gifts ensures that individuals are able to allocate their assets the way they want and not leave those difficult decisions to family members. As a CPA, she is well-versed in the tax benefits of doing so. Using such options as charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts makes leaving either a lifetime or post-lifetime donation more powerful. 

Mariel, now retired, remembers asking her clients what they wanted to accomplish and then worked with them to achieve it in the most tax-efficient way. 

“Depending on your particular situation and objectives, there are usually several ways for you to accomplish your goals,” Mariel says. “And we all have goals.” 

Mariel’s goal is to share food and bring hope to future generations. That’s just how she is. 

Mariel Liggett is a trailblazer for sure. 

Bayer, The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri partner to fight hunger at Luke Bryan Farm Tour

Photo Credit Tom Craig

Photo Credit Tom Craig

When the Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour arrives in Centralia on Saturday, fans will not only get to hear their favorite Luke Bryan tunes, they will also have a chance to help local families in need.  

Presenting sponsor Bayer and The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri will be joining forces to tackle hunger, while also raising awareness for America’s farming communities.  Before the concert, Bayer will present a $2,000 grant to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri which will help support one in six adults and one in five children facing food insecurity in The Food Bank’s 32-county service area.

“We’re really thankful for the support we’re receiving from Bayer and the Luke Bryan Farm Tour,” said Lindsay Young Lopez, Executive Director of The Food Bank.  “This gift will go a long way in helping us share food with the more than 100,000 Missourians we serve every month, many of whom live in rural communities.”

This donation is a part of Bayer’s Here’s To The Farmer campaign which aims to celebrate and recognize America’s hard-working farmers.  Throughout this harvest season, Bayer is asking everyone to say “Thank You” to American farmers by sharing #HeresToTheFarmer on social media.  For every share, Bayer will donate a meal* to someone in need through Feeding America®.  Bayer’s goal for the campaign is to donate 1 million meals.

“America’s farmers work hard to give all of us safe, affordable and nutritious food.  But there are many families who don’t know where their next meal will come from.  Bayer is proud to work with The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri to help curb hunger right here in Missouri,” said Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President for Bayer.

Bayer will present the grant to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri at 4:30 p.m. on October 7 at the Bayer Tent near the main entrance to the concert.

Taste of the Tigers is Oct. 5


Have you ever wanted to run down onto Faurot Field and kick a ball? Or meet the Golden Girls, Truman the Tiger or “Voice of the Tigers” Mike Kelly in person? The Food Bank and the Missouri Tigers are giving you that opportunity. 

Taste of the Tigers is an event like no other that will allow participants to have on-field experiences, meet Mizzou celebrities and enjoy food and drink all at Memorial Stadium.

Some of Columbia’s finest eateries will be set up for attendees to sample tailgate-inspired bite-sized creations. Beverage vendors will also be on hand to serve spirits and brews. Additionally, participants will have the chance to vie for prizes such as Mizzou Athletics packages and other unique experiences. Proceeds from the event will benefit Score Against Hunger, The Food Bank’s largest annual fundraising campaign to help share food and bring hope to neighbors in need. 

The Food Bank Executive Director Lindsay Young Lopez says she hopes to make this first-of-its-kind event an annual celebration among Mizzou fans.

“The Food Bank is the Official Charitable Partner of Mizzou Athletics, and we really wanted to find a way to bring that partnership to the community,” she says. “This allows Tiger fans to get a truly unique football experience while also helping those in need. We hope to see everyone at the Zou!” 

Smithfield Foods' Helping Hungry Homes, Schnucks donate 36,000 pounds of ribs


Smithfield Foods’ Helping Hungry Homes® initiative, a program focused on alleviating hunger and helping Americans become more food secure, joined forces with Schnuck Markets, Inc. to donate 36,000 pounds of protein to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri.

The donation, equivalent to 160,000 servings, will help those fighting hunger across central and northeast Missouri, where one in six individuals are food insecure.

“Protein is an essential part of a balanced meal,” said Lindsay Young-Lopez, executive director of The Food Bank. “It is greatly needed and an often-difficult resource to acquire. We are tremendously appreciative of Smithfield’s generous donation.”

Smithfield and Schnucks representatives presented the donation to The Food Bank Sept. 6 at an event that raised awareness of hunger’s impact in the local community. Members from all three organizations discussed the significance of protein donations in helping the more than 100,000 individuals The Food Bank serves regularly.

“As a company, Schnucks understands how imperative it is to support the fight against hunger,” said Joanie Taylor, Schnucks director of community relations. “We are especially thrilled to partner with Smithfield and The Food Bank to offer relief to our local community members who are seeking assistance.”

Smithfield’s donation to The Food Bank was a part of the Helping Hungry Homes® 2017 nationwide donation tour. Throughout the annual tour, Smithfield will provide large-scale protein donations to nearly 60 food banks across the country. This donation adds to the more than 65 million servings of protein donated since 2011.

“At Smithfield, we understand the importance of proper nutrition and value our responsibility to raise awareness of and alleviate hunger throughout the country,” said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. “Today, we are proud to offer our support to The Food Bank and provide delicious, protein-rich meal options to people throughout its service area.”