Central and Northeast Missouri Food Bank Participates in the Million Pound Challenge

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COLUMBIA - The sound of car horns filled the air at Providence and Broadway in Columbia on Tuesday. Firefighters and food bank volunteers held signs that encouraged drivers to honk their horn or donate food or money for the Million Pound Challenge.

The Mayor of Columbia challenged residents to help the Central and Northeast Missouri food bank raise over a million pounds of food in one day. All of the donations will help the food bank feed local residents during the holiday season. Food bank employees say donations increase every year, this is the fifth year the mayor challenged Columbia residents to help those in need.

Purple donation bins filled with non-perishable items lined each side of the collection lot to mark the drive thru for residents. Volunteers say the drive thru attracts more people to donate because they do not have to leave their car. Columbia firefighters and food bank volunteers started collecting food and money donations at 6 a.m. and will continue until 6 p.m. Firefighter Steve Forrest said the Columbia Fire Department helps the food bank every year.

"We really enjoy doing it, it's a way for us to give back to the community that's very supportive of us," Forrest said.

By Tuesday afternoon, food bank volunteers collected over 30,000 pounds of food and $35,000 worth of donations. Executive Director of the Central and Northeast Missouri Food Bank Peggy Kirkpatrick said every dollar counts as 15 pounds of food.

"Anything that people want to donate would be a blessing," Kirkpatrick said. "Canned meat, canned fruits and vegetables...(and) pastas of any kind are all wonderful items to donate."

Food bank employees collected over a million pounds of food this year, meaning Columbia met the Mayor's challenge. Last year, the food bank collected $52,000 and 58,000 pounds of food.