Food Banks Participate in National Food Drive

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COLUMBIA - The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri kicked off the Nationwide Centurylink Backpack Buddies Feed the Children Food Drive Monday.

49 million Americans are receiving food assistance each year. Over 30 percent of those are children. The Food Bank said making sure children are fed should always be a priority.

"One of the things we always say is that it is never the kid's fault, no matter what the situation is," Food and Fund Drive Coordinator, Michael Yetman, said.

During the school year, students in mid-Missouri that receive free or reduced-priced lunches are given "Buddy Packs". These are three to four pound bags of food slipped into the kid's backpacks to get them through the weekend.

When the school year ends, the need for meals only increases.

Centurylink has pledged to match donations with $1 per pound of food up to 1 million pounds nationwide.

"It's always a battle of funding and finding the right way to get the food out there," Yetman said, "but every summer we always have food for the kids."

Community members that would like to offer help can bring nutritious and shelf stable food items to 625 Cherry St. in Columbia or 2111 Missouri Blvd. in Jefferson City.

Last year's Centurylink drive included 200 food banks across the country and resulted in 8.54 million pounds of food donations.

The Centurylink program is planned to last from June 2-13, but The Food Bank is always accepting donations and volunteers for the summer feeding program.