Snow and Ice Suspends Buddy Packs Program

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COLUMBIA- School cancellations in mid-Missouri forced The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri to suspend its Buddy Packs program this past week.

The Buddy Packs program, which started in 2005, provides food packs for children in need of food in 28 Missouri counties. The program allows low-income children to pick up food on Fridays at their schools to bring home for the weekend.

When schools closed, the food bank could have delivered food to needy students, but there was nowhere to distribute the food.  

The food bank's executive director, Peggy Kirkpatrick said the program feeds around 1,600 kids in Boone County each week.

Although the program has seen winter storms in previous years, Kirkpatrick said it was the preparation for this past storm that caused the program's cancellation.

"Some of the schools in the past, when we knew that a storm was coming, would distribute the food packs earlier in the week," she said.

Kirkpatrick said the food bank did not anticipate that some schools would be canceled an entire week.

"Talking to some of the school officials in Columbia and Jefferson City," she said "that was on no one's radar."

Kirkpatrick said opening up the schools for distribution is not an option because it would not help the kids that live in areas where roads aren't cleared.

To make up for this week, the food bank will offer schools double supplies of food when classes resume.

People in need of food can get food at the Central Pantry, which re-opened Thursday.