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Food Bank Handout Another Success
The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri out of Columbia, MO, partners with Feeding America, United Way, and Charity Navigator. For those of us here in Kahoka and Clark County, we associate the Food Bank with our buddy pack program and as Helping Hands of Clark County, a 501c3 non-profit organization that distributes the food once a month to Clark County residents only. Last week, April 15 & 16, Helping Hands served 172 families with 82 of those being Senior citizens, 12 new families, which totaled 324 people served.
A little history about the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri: We are committed to sharing healthy food to enhance the quality of like for those in need in our communities. The Food Bank specifically focuses on foods that encourage good health—namely produce, protein, and dairy. We share this food at no charge with 140 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other partner agencies across the 32-county service area and serve roughly 100,000 people every single month. In fact, for every $10.00 gift received, we are able to acquire and distribute $ 210.00 worth of groceries.
Hunger is a local problem. One in five children and one in six adults in the Food Bank’s 32 counties do not have consistent access to proper nutrition. More than half of the children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school. Many do not have enough food when at home on weekends or holidays. Our Senior citizens are the fastest-growing population in need of food assistance as they adjust to living on fixed incomes and increased medical expenses. There are over 6,000 Veterans living at or below poverty in our service area.
When the Food Bank trunk comes, and it does once a month, it brings the Buddy Packs for the school children, that rely on subsidized lunch at school and sometimes do not have anything to eat on the weekends. The Buddy Pack program serves over 7,500 children each week at more than 160 schools in the Central and Northeast MO area. Along with the Buddy Packs on the truck, there are Senior Boxes that include pasta, juice, canned fruit, vegetables, and other supplemental nutrition. There are over 2,800 senior citizens in the service area. And, the truck brings items for the USDA program here in Clark County.
Helping Hands wants to thank the community for being patients with the April handout. It was a new way of doing things because of COVID-19, and we appreciate all the support the people gave. We want the community to know that all volunteers had their temperatures checked by the Clark County Health Department each day they started working. Thank you to the Health Department for coming out and taking this protective measure for us. The volunteers wore gloves and a mask all day to keep droplets from the food and boxes. Throughout the day, the carts and tables were wiped down with Lysol and sanitized thoroughly.
We want to thank the Clark County Minister’s Association for donating the masks, and gloves, and for helping find volunteers to staff the week. We want to thank the high school and college students who also helped during the week. We would like to encourage them to continue volunteering on a regular basis to give our older volunteers a break. We also want to thank all the volunteers the came out and helped in the snowy/rainy weather we had last week. And thank you to Kent Nixon for providing the space for this program to be located.
We are not sure what our May hand out will look like and not sure when it will happen. So, please stay tuned to KMEM, or on Facebook for further announcements. We will also have signs posted on the Helping Hands Building when we know more. Thank you for your continued support to this vital program in Clark County. Since we are a non-profit organization, we are funded solely on donations. Please feel free to send these donations to Nancie Holmes, 24359 County Road 165, Kahoka, MO 63445 or drop off at the Bank of Monticello in Kahoka. Again, thank you to the community for lending a hand when we most needed it.