Buddy Pack program seeks support
A flyer for The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri features pictures of several children and asks, “One of these children is hungry. Can you tell which?”
Feeding children throughout the school year is a focus of the food bank, so students can focus on school.
“When they’re in school, they’re focusing on their hunger and not learning,” Darren White, with the food bank, said. “We want to help alleviate that and help put them all on that same level. No child should have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from.”
The organization is continuing its Buddy Pack program, providing bags of “kid-friendly nutrition that children take home with them before weekends and holidays” the flyer states. In Saline County, an estimated 81 percent of children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Buddy Packs contain items such as peanut butter, granola bars, soup, a milk carton, ravioli, cereal and more. Students who qualify for the program receive their packs every Friday during the nine-month school year.
“It’s beneficial because there are so many kids that are in need,” White said. “It puts them on the same playing field as the student they sit next to in class that isn’t facing the same issues.”
The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri currently aids Saline County students at Benton Elementary, Eastwood Elementary, Gilliam C-4, Northwest Elementary, Southeast Elementary, Miami R-I Elementary and Slater Elementary schools. But the Buddy Pack program needs support to thrive, according to White. It costs roughly $180 to provide one child with a Buddy Pack every week throughout the school year.
Those who wish to monetarily support the program can send a donation directly to the food bank, or to the Marshall contact person. Make a check payable to “The Food Bank” with “Saline County Buddy Pack” in the memo and mail it to: Bruce Bock, 1187 Alameda Lane, Marshall, MO 65340. The food bank’s address is 2101 Vandiver Drive, Columbia, MO 65202.