5th Annual Sweatin' to Make a Difference

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JEFFERSON CITY— The Sam B. Cook Healthplex hosted the 5th Annual Sweatin' to Make a Difference on Saturday.

The purpose of the event was to help raise donations to support the Central and Northeast Food Bank's Buddy Pack Program. 

Participants joined in a series of exercises led by instructors and also brought jars of peanut butter and other donations.

The Buddy Pack Program was created to serve children who rely on subsidized meals during the school week. Buddy Packs are filled with nutritional food and given to low-income children on Fridays to get them through the weekend.

The Central and Northeast Missouri Food Bank serves 27 of 32 counties with the Buddy Pack Program. The program provides 7,500 Buddy Packs every week during the school year for children. 

Central and Northeast Missouri Food Bank Regional Coordinator Jessica Long said that the Buddy Pack Program is one of the Food Bank's most successful programs.

"Children who receive Buddy Packs actually have better educational outcomes," Long said. "They have fewer sick days and they have fewer behavioral issues because kids are not constantly wondering, 'Well, where is my next meal going to come from?'" 

Long said that the Buddy Pack Program wouldn't be possible without the support of the community.

Group Fitness Supervisor Sarah Harbour said that the goal is to continue the growth of the program each year.

"Part of our mission at Capital Region is to reach out to the community and to help those," Harbour said. "The buddy pack program has been a great opportunity for us. People are very willing to give."

Peanut butter donations were number one on the list because once a month each child is given a jar of peanut butter. This year, the number of jars of peanut butter donated exceeded the goal of 250 jars.

Sweatin' to Make a difference will continue Sunday, June 25 at the Sam B. Healthplex.

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