Food bank prepared to help amid outbreak

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COLUMBIA - The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri has taken several measures to help those with food insecurity during the coronavirus. 

With schools closing, The Food Bank is working closely with Columbia Public Schools and other schools in their service area to ensure kids who need food will get it. A new model for how the food will be given to them is in the works.

"I just want to assure all of your viewers that we are working closely with all 150 plus schools throughout the 32 counties that we serve to see what new approaches they might be able to take," said The Food Bank's president and CEO Lindsay Lopez. "It is absolutely priority for us to continue to provide food to those children in need especially."

The Central Pantry has changed how its staff and volunteers work. It used to be an open store, but there is now a drive through option available for those who need food. Anyone visiting can drive up, answer a few questions, and then receive their food. If you don't have a vehicle, you can go to the waiting room instead.

"We take very seriously our role as the largest nonprofit in this community and in the 32 counties that we serve in Missouri," Lopez said.

If you're interested in helping, the most effective thing you can do is to donate money that the Food Bank uses to buy supplies. The Food Bank asks that you if you donate food, that it only be food you have on-hand already so as to not burden grocery stores. The Food Bank expects less volunteers.  If you can volunteer, contact the The Food Bank. 

The Food Bank works with 140 partner agencies in their service area. You can find a the list of all those agencies here.

"Because of the number of people that we serve on an ongoing basis we have to stay dedicated to our mission," Lopez said. "We have to find ways that we can adapt and that we can continue to serve those people that are need."

If you're interested in finding out more information, check out The Food Bank's page on how they're responding to the coronavirus.