Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 14
THE FOOD FIGHT
Co-ops help power
photo courtesy Missouri Farmers Care
The drive raised $165,000 for Feeding
Missouri and its partner food banks. FFA
students from around the state helped
pack more than 52,000 meals during
s daylight shortens and the temperFood Insecurity Service Day on Aug. 15.
ature drops, the stomach's internal
Volunteers and fairgoers donated about
clock starts counting down to holi9,000 pounds of food at gates, and Misday feasts. But somewhere in Missouri's FFA chapters donated another
souri there are senior citizens, kids and
whole families whose tables will be bare. The Thanksgiving food drive is a famil- 900 pounds of high-quality, fresh produce from their exhibition displays.
"It was the most meaningful and purposeful day I've spent at the fair, and I
iar sight across America. However hunger is a perennial problem. And it seems
everywhere around the Show-Me State there are food banks, farmers and elec- think other people felt that," Ashley says. "It feels good to give resources, but it
feels even better to roll up your sleeves and serve your community."
tric cooperatives trying to change that.
With the cooperative principle "Concern for Community" in mind, Co-Mo
"There's not a season for hunger," says Denise Gibson, director of development and communication for Ozarks Food Harvest. "It's 365 days a year and it Electric Cooperative has made feeding the hungry in its service area - and
beyond - a priority by supporting The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Miscrosses all demographics."
According to Feeding America, about 40 million people - roughly an eighth souri. For two decades, the Co-Mo Cares Board of Directors has made donaof the U.S. population - struggle with hunger. In White River Valley Electric tions to the Buddy Pack program. Member Care Representative Cathy Sinclair
Cooperative's ﬁve-county service area of southwest Missouri, the problem is says since 2011 the electric cooperative's employees have jumped on board,
so staggering the co-op created a Power to Turn Hunger Into Hope campaign. too. Whether it's ﬁlling a truck bucket with peanut butter or donating money to
White River not only takes donations at local grocery stores but also has raised wear jeans to work, Co-Mo gets creative in its approach.
"In addition to the employees our members are very generous," Cathy says,
more than $16,000 and 3 tons of groceries with the help of employee food
drives, fundraisers and from voluntary payroll deductions. Because food banks adding the cooperative's ofﬁces in Tipton and Laurie accept food bank donations year round. "It's something very near and dear to our hearts."
buy products in bulk, those dollars stretched to $160,000 worth of food.
Accountant Jordan Fischer says rural lender CoBank partnered with Co"You feel like it's a drop in the bucket when you look at the need, but you do
Mo on the drive, matching the value of food gathered by the cooperative with
what you can," says White River's marketing coordinator Diana Bradford.
The need is especially great in southwest Missouri's schools. Denise says a monetary donation. To date, more than 1 ton of food and a little more than
Ozarks Food Harvest started a weekend backpack program in 2003 to get kids $3,400 in matching donations have helped fund the food bank's initiatives.
Darren White is a regional coordinator for the Columbia-based food bank,
nutritious meals where and when they need them most. Since that time it has
grown to encompass 60 schools in 16 counties. It's vital to an area where as working with eight of 32 counties in central and northeast Missouri. In 2016,
many as 60 to 90 percent of students rely on free or reduced-cost lunch pro- the food bank shipped out close to 32 million pounds of food at no cost to the
136 partner agencies it supplies. But even that
grams for sustenance and nutrition.
staggering amount of food - 16,000 tons -
"People have stepped up to try and break
hasn't come close to knocking out hunger.
the cycle of poverty for these kids so they can
"It's not getting any better," Darren says,
concentrate on their schoolwork and be more
noting one in six people in the 18,000-squarehealthy human beings," Denise adds.
mile area are food insecure and one in ﬁve of
"In rural Missouri when we think about
those are kids. "It's either staying consistent or
hunger people may think it's an inner city issue
even going up in some areas."
and numbers don't prove that out," says Ashley
So while the work may never be ﬁnished, no
McCarty, executive director of Missouri Farmone quits trying. From the change in a jar at
ers Care. She adds in parts of the state one in
the grocery store to the trucks of food rolling to
every three kids faces food insecurity. "If you
a shelter or senior citizens' centers, they are all
spend much time in a public school, you don't
different solutions working toward one goal -
have to have many statistics to see the need."
engaging the community to address the comFormed in 2010 as an advocacy coalition of
Missouri's agricultural community, Missouri
"People don't realize the need, not only with
Farmers Care works in concert with 45 memkids but generally within those communities,"
bers, including the Association of Missouri
Darren says. "It's something that doesn't go
Electric Cooperatives. This year the group
photo courtesy Diana Bradford, White River Valley Electric Cooperative
away. It's constant."
kicked off several initiatives to address hunger,
including the Drive to Feed Kids and partnerTop: Missouri FFA students packed more than 52,000 meals for the
For more information on ﬁnding your local
ing with Missouri FFA. And what better time
Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri during Food Insecurity
food bank or how you can help ﬁght hunger go
or place for Missouri's rural voice to ﬁght back
Service Day, held Aug. 15 at the Missouri State Fair. Above: White
against hunger than the state fair?
River Valley Electric Cooperative employees gather donations.
by Zach Smith | email@example.com
RURAL MISSOURI | NOVEMBER 2017
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2017
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Intro
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 3
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 4
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 5
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 6
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 7
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 8
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 9
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 10
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 11
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Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 20
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Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Cover4