JEFFERSON CITY, MO – For the third year in a row, agriculture groups in Missouri partnered to raise awareness of childhood food insecurity and raise support for food banks across the state through the Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) Drive to Feed Kids. The Drive culminated at the Missouri State Fair with a variety of service events. This summer-long effort raised $175,000, which was presented Aug. 17 at the Missouri State Fair to Feeding Missouri—the association of Missouri’s six regional food banks.
“Farmers labor each day to provide food, feed and fuel for people throughout our nation,” said Dan Cassidy, secretary of Missouri Farmers Care and chair of the Drive to Feed Kids. “Through the Drive to Feed Kids, a broad coalition of the state’s agricultural groups works to provide a safety net for those in need. We are extremely grateful to those who made this year the largest yet and appreciate our ongoing partnership with Feeding Missouri and its network of food banks. The Drive is gaining momentum and we will continue working to call attention to the issue of food insecurity in Missouri.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 13, MFC partnered with the Missouri FFA Association for Missouri FFA Food Insecurity Service Day. More than 750 FFA members and agricultural leaders spent the day packing 128,460 meals to feed families of up to six people. The meals were distributed statewide to Missouri’s regional food banks.
“FFA Food Insecurity Day was once again a great success. Students noticed a need in our state and took action, which is what FFA is all about,” said Brenden Kleiboeker, Missouri FFA Association President. “I have confidence that students will go back to their communities with these needs in mind and continue making an impact in our state.”
Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson, along with Missouri elected officials and agricultural leaders, joined the cause on Thursday, Aug. 15. Together, they packed 1,740 backpack meals that will provide weekend meals through the first month of school for students in Pettis, Benton and Cooper counties.
Fairgoers participated in the events by bringing non-perishable food donations on Missouri Farmers Care Food Drive Tuesday. Through these activities and a generous canned food donation by Woods Supermarket, more than 15,000 pounds of non-perishable food was donated to local pantries. In addition, Missouri FFA donated fresh produce from FFA student projects on display at the fair.
“Missouri farmers are stepping up and saying, ‘not in our state’ when it comes to childhood hunger,” said Scott Baker, State Director for Feeding Missouri. “Thousands of children in Missouri will have something to eat this year because of Missouri Farmers Care and their partners. The pairing of expertise with compassion shows exactly what can be done to address hunger when we work together.”