With Thanksgiving only a week away, The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri is hosting its first area Gobble-Up Hunger food drive Monday at Walmart, with all food collected being donated to a local agency.
“This is brand new for this particular drive,” The Food Bank Western Regional Coordinator Darren White said. “It’s from 6 o’clock in the morning to 6 o’clock at night. We’ll be at the doors of Walmart collecting food and funds. If you have shopping to do, it would be a great time to save it for this day to come out and support your community because it all stays in the community.
“The food will go directly to the local pantry, Open Door,” he added. “They will be there at the end of the day to pick up what’s collected. So, it will be staying in the community.”
During the day Monday, volunteers will pass out fliers to patrons as they enter the store. The fliers will offer suggestions for nonperishable food items that may be donated for the drive.
Donated items may include canned goods, noodles, cereal, rice or any type of nonperishable food.
“Canned goods is always the easiest,” White said. “Of course, hopefully, people will be shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, so it would be easy to pick up an extra can of something.”
The Food Bank has a goal of 1,000 pounds of food and $1,000 in funds.
“At The Food Bank we can buy 15 pounds of food for $1,” White said. “So, funds goes a long way. If people would rather just bring cash that day, if they have $1 to give it would go a lot further.”
He said the funds will also stay in the community, but in a different aspect.
“We are using those (funds) to go toward the Buddy Pack program in Pettis County,” he noted.”It’s $180 to support one child for the school year. So, any funds collected will go toward that program.”
The Buddy Pack program is a weekly program where backpacks of nonperishable food items are sent home with children “in need” to help them supplement their meals while at home during the weekend.
“It’s a program that runs all nine months of the school year,” White said. “Every Friday they’re getting a bag of food.”
The Buddy Pack contains five nonperishable items such as a shelf-stable milk product, a grain product, a snack, fruit, and granola bars.
“It’s roughly five pounds of food in the Buddy Pack,” he added.
White noted the Buddy Pack program serves nine schools in Pettis County and that 4,526 children qualify for free and reduced meals at school. At present, 230 Pettis County children receive Buddy Packs through The Food Bank.
The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri Gobble-Up Hunger food drive will be hosted from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at both entrances of Walmart, 3201 W. Broadway Blvd. in Sedalia. For more information, contact White at 573-447-6603 or toll free at 800-764-3663 or by email at [email protected]
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.