Missouri Employers Mutual matched gifts for The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri’s Buddy Pack Program from Aug. 7-11, 2018, up to $25,000 to fight childhood hunger.
MEM employees spent more than 150 hours in July feeding Mid-Missouri kids at McKee Street Park through The Food Bank’s Summer Feeding Program. Seeing the daily need for nutritious food, MEM wanted to do more to make food one less worry as kids go back to school.
The beginning of a new school year marks a crucial time for The Food Bank as it serves an estimated 7,500 students at over 160 schools each weekend with its Buddy Pack Program. The Food Bank’s largest program, it provides kid-friendly nutritious meals to children who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. For $180, The Food Bank can ensure that a child has a Buddy Pack for every weekend during the school year.
“At MEM, we want to make an impact on the communities we serve, and that’s why we joined forces with The Food Bank,” MEM President and CEO Jim Owen said. “The lack of nutritious food on the table at home can greatly affect a child’s ability to learn in the classroom, and we want to do what we can to make sure kids have safe and healthy learning environments.”
In total, the Buddy Pack Match campaign raised more than $66,000 in five days – an amount that fed 368 children.
The 2018/2019 school year marks the Buddy Pack Program’s 14th year serving children in Mid-Missouri, and the demand remains high. One in five children in central and northeast Missouri struggle with hunger on a daily basis, and more than half of the students in mid-Missouri public schools qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. Research suggests that hungry children are more likely to have lower test scores, miss school and repeat a grade entirely.
“MEM continues to set a high standard for commitment, service and philanthropy in the mid-Missouri community and beyond,” said Lindsay Young Lopez, executive director of The Food Bank. “We are so grateful for their long term partnership with The Food Bank, which is directly and positively impacting the lives of the children and adults we serve.”