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COLUMBIA -Important Details: This year's food drive runs from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm on Thursday, December 15 at the northeast corner of Providence and Broadway. Community members will be encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items and cash donations so that our local food pantries can be fully stocked the week before Christmas.

All food and funds collected go directly to The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. The goal of the One for One Holiday Food Drive is to encourage families to consider giving one dollar and one can of food for every person in their immediate family.

New in 2011! The Mayor's Challenge: Recognizing the dire need to help feed those in need during the holidays, Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid has issued a challenge to the citizens of Columbia to answer the call. Mayor McDavid is encouraging Columbians to come together to raise one million pounds of food on Thursday, December 15.

This is an ambitious goal, but the Mayor is confident that the citizens of Columbia will exercise extreme generosity when it comes to helping those in need this holiday season.

What You Can Do To Help:
1) Organize A Food Drive - encourage your colleagues and co-workers to host a food drive that will raise food and funds for the Food Bank. The Food Bank's purple collection barrels can be placed in your office. Reach out to your neighbors, church congregations, scout troops and other civic organizations encouraging them to participate or start their own food drive that culminates with this event on December 15.

2) Help Spread The Word - help us spread the word about this food drive by distributing flyers through your neighborhood, emailing friends and family members, using social media like facebook and twitter to increase awareness of the food drive. To raise one million pounds of food, we need to get the entire community involved.

3) Make A Donation - If you can't help in any other way, we ask that you simply consider making a onetime gift to The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. Due to the challenging economy and higher unemployment over the last three years, the need in our community has never been greater. A donation of just one dollar enables the Food Bank to purchase 20 pounds of food. The donation of one can of food might determine whether or not a child goes to bed on an empty stomach. The smallest gift makes a huge difference.

For more information, call Fred Parry at 573-489-1831 or Brad Fraizer at 573-823-6942.