The Missouri Food Bank to host 35th anniversary celebration

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COLUMBIA - The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, which serves Callaway and Cole County residents, will host an open house to celebrate its 35th anniversary Thursday. 

"The purpose of this 35th anniversary celebration is to really celebrate all of our accomplishments and how far that we have come, but also to really look towards the future and to launch the next 35 years of the food bank and fulfilling our mission," Lindsay Lopez, the executive director of the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, said.

Lopez said the event is very family and kid-friendly. It will start off with a ribbon cutting and have fun activities to celebrate the anniversary, including cooking demonstrations and warehouse tours. Guests will have the opportunity to help prepare Buddy Packs.

"The Food Bank is so fortunate to have many many people in this community and throughout the 32 counties that we served who support our efforts on an ongoing basis, so that's why we're having the celebration to recognize those efforts and to say thank you," Lopez said. 

This year, the Food Bank launched a new program called VIP Pack Program, which specifically helps veterans who are in need or living at or below the poverty line. Lopez said the organization will also talk about its plans to create new recognition societies for existing donors.

"The reality is that one of every six adults who lives right here in this community throughout our 32 counties that we serve, and one of every five children is struggling on an ongoing basis with having enough access to health nutritious food," Lopez said. "So that's why we do the right we do."

Lopez said the Food Bank serves more than 104,000 people every single month, and it is distributing about 7,500 Buddy Packs each week to children who are living in need.  

"Our goal is just to ensure that we can continue to assist people who are in need," Lopez said.