The Missouri Food Bank looks forward to helping more veterans in the community

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COLUMBIA - The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri has received tremendous positive responses based on a special program for veteran group. 

The program, which is called "V.I.P Veteran Pack", launched in July and aims to help veterans who are homeless or living in poverty in the community. 

Associate Director Bobbie Kincade said there are more than 600 veterans just in Boone County who live at or below the poverty line. 

"We need to reach out and do we can to help these people who have given a lot to our country," Kincade said. 

Kincade said after the food bank packs the boxes with nutritious food, volunteers distribute most of those to the Central Pantry. Other boxes will be distributed to Patriot Place and Welcome Home and also the veteran's hospital. 

Kincade said there are more than 100 veterans who come to the Central Pantry every month, and that is a main reason for them to take a closer look at this population. After observing and reading some data, they found there is a huge number of veterans who are living in need. 

"In our 32 county areas, there are over 5,000 veterans who are in need," Kincade said. 

Kincade said currently the food bank is serving about 104,000 people every month throughout its 32 county service area. In the Central Pantry alone, they're feeding about 10,000 people a month.

The staff at the Central Pantry said the special box for veterans include some ready-to-go items like protein bars, soup, peanut butter and toothbrushes. 

"The biggest benefit is a pre-package thing that you can just get for being a veteran, and when you are using the food bank services, it's an addition, it's nice," Norman Funk, a Columbia veteran said. 

And now, the food bank is planning to help more veterans in the community. 

"We will probably take a look at maybe eight different locations to start out outside of Boone County and to look at those numbers and see, you know, how can we distribute boxes to those veterans and those communities," Kincade. 

"It seems like just a little bit we can pay back to them to say thank you and to help them become successful now," Kincade said.