Buddy Pack program gets boost from Monsanto grant

Thursday, August 2, 2018
Darren White, with The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, accepts a $3,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund. Employees from Monsanto Company Marshall Soybean Production recommended the organization for the grant, which will support the Buddy Pack program in Saline County this school year. Pictured with White are Raechel Asbury and Sabrina Brown.
Contributed image

A program that helps feed hungry children in Saline County just received a boost after an area business provided a donation.

This week, The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri received a $3,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund. The funds will go toward the organization’s Buddy Pack program.

Buddy Packs are bags of nutritious foods given on Fridays to school children who rely on subsidized lunch, according to The Food Bank.

“For many children, time away from school also means time away from reliable meals. The Buddy Pack program immediately addresses this need by providing food to children experiencing food insecurity,” Lindsay Lopez, executive director at The Food Bank, said in a press release issued Aug. 1. “We could not operate this program without the help of supporters such as the Monsanto Fund, and we are thrilled to receive this funding for our Buddy Pack program in Saline County.”

The $3,000 will stay local, serving students in Saline County this school year. According to Darren White, of The Food Bank, Buddy Packs are currently given to approximately 219 students at seven different schools: Alexander Elementary in Slater; Benton, Eastwood, Northwest and Southeast elementary schools in Marshall; Gilliam C-4 Elementary; and Miami R-1 Elementary.

“The Food Bank greatly appreciates Monsanto — the partnership they have in supporting this program,” White stated. “It takes a lot to fund (packs) for the kids, locally.”

Buddy Packs cost $180 per child for an entire school year. In order to serve 219 youths, Buddy Pack program expenses would total $39,420. Packs include two ready-to-eat entrees, two bags of cereal with milk, a fruit cup, nutritional bar, a snack, and peanut butter — which is given monthly.

John Forsyth, a site lead at the Marshall Monsanto site, said they were thrilled to have The Food Bank apply for the grant.

“… We have heard from many school teachers what a blessing the Buddy Pack program is,” he said. “We’re honored to support The Food Bank for Central and Northwest Missouri with this Monsanto Fund grant and look forward to working with them in the future.”

The Monsanto Fund has awarded more than $1.4 million to nonprofit organizations in rural communities this year, according to the press release, and more than $7.5 million nationwide over the last five years.

For more information about the Buddy Pack program, contact White at 573-474-1020 or at darrenw@sharefoodbringhope.org. Anyone interested in making a monetary donation may also mail a check, payable to “The Food Bank” with “Saline County Buddy Pack” in the memo, to Bruce Brock, 1187 Alameda Lane, Marshall, MO 65340.

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