Kids help kids facing hunger

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COLUMBIA - More than 40 children helped the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri with buddy packs at Saturday's "Kids Helping Kids" workshop.

"It's very cool to be helping the community and every single kid out there," 10-year-old Devin Arnold said. "I like meeting new people and working as a team to help other people."

Melanie Lake, the volunteers program coordinator, said children and parents organized around 3,600 servings of cereal for the Buddy Pack program. 

"We really saw the need and the want of the community to get their kids involved, for kids to just recognize, they are part of the solution of making sure people get fed," Lake said. "They go to school with kids that are getting buddy packs or have need, so they are helping their peers."

The program supplies nearly 1,800 children with about 75,000 buddy packs a week. The buddy packs are distributed to families in 32 counties.

"Each one of us has an interaction with families or children who are struggling with access to food," Lindsay Young Lopez, food bank executive director, said. "That’s why it’s so important we are able to help those children here in need."

Arnold says he hope his experience will encourage his friends to volunteer for future "Kids Helping Kids" workshops.

"I already helped two of my friends out, and so they came here and helped," he said. "

The workshop also allowed children to tour the food bank storage room and meet a mascot.

"We want them to have a fun experience, one that is rewarding and one that shows them the importance of being able to give back to those kids in our community," Young Lopez said.

The next "Kids Helping Kids" workshop will take place in spring.