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COLUMBIA - The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri needs help supplying food and backpacks for children through its Buddy Pack program.

The Buddy Pack program currently serves 117 schools in the 32 counties the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri serves. Right now, the program serves about 6,300 children in Central and Northeast Missouri. The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri would like to expand that number.

The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri Executive Director Peggy Kirkpatrick says, "One in four children in Missouri are food insecure." This means those children are not sure where their next meal may come from. Kirkpactrick also says Missouri ranks fifth in the nation for child food insecurity.

Kirkpatrick says the biggest needs right now are for backpacks and peanut butter. The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri tries to provide a variety of backpacks for children participating in the Buddy Pack program, so those receiving assistance are not easily identified.

Peanut butter is a vital part of the Buddy Pack program because children like it, it is easy to prepare and provides protein. Right now, peanut butter prices are high. The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri is looking for peanut butter donations or cash donations designated for peanut butter.

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